CRICKET: Win and narrow defeat in opening weekend for Willoughby

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Teams ready to start South Northants league season on Saturday

It may have been a week later than originally planned, but the new season finally got underway at Willoughby at the weekend with a win and narrow defeat generally bringing the feel-good factor back to the club.

Club Friendly

Willoughby XI v Braunston Paddox

Braunston Paddox 149 for 9

Willoughby 123 all out

Braunston Paddox won by 26 runs

After the miserable weather of recent weeks the glorious sunshine held for the eagerly anticipated first fixture of the season as Willoughby welcomed local rivals and fellow SNCL members Braunston Paddox for what was a tale of two batting collapses.

The visitors batted first and made a respectable 149 for 9 off their 40 overs, this after Willoughby’s Sean Thornton (1-13) opened the bowling with 15 year old Jake Quinney,

The fall of the first wicket and subsequent change of bowling saw Darren Cox immediately up the tempo lashing a few hefty blows over both bowlers heads. However fellow Under 15 Dan Farrow pinned back his colleagues and stepped up taking two wickets in two balls in his eventual return of 3 for 13.

Four over spells for Martin Nichols (0-13) Ben Hollis (1-8) Fergus Deery(0-19) John Gregson (1-10) followed with relative consistency, as Cox eventually retired on 59. After a middle order collapse Heynes, Harnett and A Shingler steadied the ship against the death bowling of Dave Alcock (1-11) and Ashley Rayner (2-29). Braunston’s total of 149 off 40 overs, made all the better by two handfuls of dropped catches from the generous hosts.

In reply, Alcock (22) and Nichols (11) took to the field and looked at ease with the bowling but both fell in quick succession. Rayner (22) Perry (11) and Hollis (23) recovered the innings and progressed the score nicely into three figures and seemingly on the way to the victory total. That was until their departures then saw a similar middle to lower order batting collapse which saw the hosts skittled for an eventual 123 all out.

A game to wipe away the cobwebs of the winter and all players enjoyed turning their arm over and have the chance of time in the middle, but nonetheless disappointing to lose despite being in winning positions.

Sunday Club Friendly

Willoughby v Oakfield & Rowland Utd

Oakfield & Rowland Utd 81 for 8

Willoughby 83 for 7

Willoughby won by 3 wickets

There was a first win of the campaign 24 hours later as Willoughby beat the newly-merged Oakfield & Rowland Utd by three wickets.

Batting first, the visitors made 81 for 8 as all of Willoughby’s bowlers got opportunity with the ball. Brian Harris with 22 was the top run scorer for O & RU CC as Archie McMillan and Nikesh Mistry bagged a pair of wicket apiece for the hosts.

Willoughby’s reply saw Alex Proudman top score with 23 and Ashley Rayner retire on 15 not out to give their colleagues the opportunity for some time in the middle. Oliver Vaughan’s 4 for 21 ensured several home batsmen were unable to capitalise on starts and back in the pavilion, but Willoughby reached their target with three wickets and plenty of overs to spare.

Fixtures:

Saturday – 1.30pm starts: South Northants Cricket League: Premier Division - Willoughby v Wroxton. Division 4: Silverstone A v Willoughby A

Sunday– 2pm start: Club Friendly - Willoughby v Monks Kirby.