CRICKET: Willoughby - South Northants league season starts tomorrow

Braunston Paddox wicket keeper Steve Haynes collects the ball, with Willoughby batsmen Pete Sarson and Badj Rahman
Braunston Paddox wicket keeper Steve Haynes collects the ball, with Willoughby batsmen Pete Sarson and Badj Rahman

No change in divisions despite finishing last year in relegation and promotion spots

PICTURE: Pre-season warm-up action against Braunston Paddox

Willoughby CC warmed up for the start of the 2015 South Northants Cricket League campaign with two victories last weekend.

Club Friendly

Willoughby XI v Leamington Khalsa

Willoughby 211 for 4

Leamington Khalsa 207 for 8

Willoughby won by 4 runs

Another close encounter dominated by the batsmen went down to the last over as Willoughby edged a win over Leamington Khalsa.

Batting first, the home side set another competitive total reaching 211 for 4 off their allotted 40 overs. Tom Stevenson continued his fine start to his Willoughby career making an unbeaten 60, Kamesh Ganti reached a half century, Badj Rahman 42, before another of the new recruits Martyn Norman added some big hitting in the close stages with 29 not out.

In reply, Khalsa’s innings was dominated by Balyik who having refused to walk when edging behind took advantage to make 95. Kuraj made 32 but there was little other support as Willoughby’s bowlers did enough to prevent the visitors from reaching their target. Stevenson followed up his efforts with the bat by taking 3 for 23, Marcus Fleming took 2 for 25 with Ganti taking 2 for 40. Special mention for young Liam Franks who came on as sub fielder and bowled a great final over of the day and deny the visitors the spoils.

Club Friendly (Sunday)

Willoughby XI v Bourton & Frankton

Willoughby 133 all out

Bourton & Frankton 79 all out

Willoughby won by 54 runs

An entertaining afternoon in the sun at The Green saw a Willoughby Sunday XI’s first outing of the season end with a win over Bourton & Frankton.

Having lost the toss, the home side were sent into bat and set the visitors a target of 133. Ian Andrews top scored for Willoughby with a well-crafted 69 and with Martin Nichols (45) they put on a partnership of 86 for the fourth wicket. Once both departed, the final six wickets fell cheaply as Mick Waller returned figures of 4 for 19 and Mark Whitehead 2 for 26.

In reply, Bourton & Frankton lost opener Danny McManus and Whitehead in successive balls at the end of Martyn Norman’s first over and were reduced further to 16 for 4. Young Harry Smith however stemmed the flow with some patient and disciplined defence before Richard Webb came to the crease and took on the charge. Once he departed for a top score of 29, the home side wrapped up the tail to eventually bowl the visitors out for 79, winning by 54 runs. Norman returned figures of 3 for 12, skipper Simon Nicholls taking 3 for 6 with Nichols, Nikesh Mistry, John Gregson and young Jake Quinney (1 for 8) all in the wickets; the latter overshadowing his Dad with bat and ball to both teams amusement.

* After two weeks of successful friendly fixtures, Willoughby CC’s attentions now turn to their South Northants Cricket League campaigns which get underway on Saturday.

Despite finishing in the bottom two last season and seemingly relegated, the club’s 1st XI were given a reprieve and still find themselves in Division 1 for 2015. After an inconsistent season last year, they will be hoping to improve in what promises to be another competitive division but one which is certainly capable of mounting a challenge.

The 1st XI begin their season with a trip to the idylic village green surrounds of Evenley, who last season finished but on equal points to Willoughby but one place above by virtue of one away win more

Willoughby’s 2nd XI – Willoughby A, go into the 2015 season still in Division 4 despite finishing runners-up and seemingly have won promotion last time out. The restructuring of the league’s divisions means the re-introduction of Division 5 after a season out, with the Division 4 and 5 league programmes ending and decided by late July. Then selected fixtures form a new mini ‘development league’ between the divisions which is played out via ‘free weeks’ in the league programme and across August.

Willoughby A will hope to go one better than last term and start the new Division 4 season with a what appears to be a tricky encounter at home against Preston Bissett.

* This Sunday, Willoughby’s ever-popular weekly ‘Kwik Cricket’ coaching and game sessions get underway for the summer.

Kwik Cricket is the fun way of getting children into cricket and developing their interest of the game and their skills.

With plastic bats and soft balls, the emphasis of Kwik Cricket is very much on learning how to play cricket in a fun, enjoyable format and environment.

Willoughby have been offering Kwik Cricket for boys and girls aged 6-10 years for nearly 15 years, with the weekly sessions all run by their ECB qualified coaches.

There is a busy summer of activity in prospect for Willoughby’s Kwik Cricketers, and as always the club is always keen to welcome prospective budding new cricketers to come along and get involved; particularly those children who may have only played a little or even not at all but are keen to try.

For further details, please contact Karl on 01788 542441, or 07775 883102; email: karlq@gcleisure.co.uk or visit the club website at www.willoughbycc.org.uk.

Following ‘Kwik Cricket Sunday’,Willoughby’s under 11, 13 and 15 junior cricketers will have their regular weekly training/coaching session later that morning from 11.00am to 12.30pm.

FIXTURES

Tomorrow (Saturday) – 2pm starts

South Northants Cricket League Division 1

Evenley A v Willoughby

Division 4

Willoughby A v Preston Bissett

Sunday

Kwik Cricket Sunday

9.45 to 10.45am

Under 11, 13 and 15 junior cricket training and practice

11am to 12.30pm