CRICKET: Oakfield & Rowlands keep slight promotion hopes alive

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Fourth consecutive win but strong finish to season needed to catch top two

Warwickshire League Division 5

Oakfield & Rowlands 1st XI vs Sutton Coldfield 2nd XI

Oakfield & Rowlands entertained Sutton Coldfield look for a fourth consecutive win interspersed with an abandoned game. Stand-in skipper Mark Randle won the toss and had no hesitation in fielding first following some wet weather. This proved the right decision as after a delayed start, Stuart Atkins ripped through the top order, clean bowling both openers and number 4 without scoring. A run out by Craig Gowdy reduced the visitors to 14-4 before rain intervened and there was another break.

After the rain subsided the visitors fought back to reach 95-5, Jamie Brightwell picking up the 5th wicket. At this point, skipper Randle ensured another collapse, this one more spectacular, as his off-breaks picked up 4 wickets in an over. Soon after he completed a 5 wicket haul to finish with 5-17 as Sutton collapsed to 101 all out.

After tea it was clear the Paddlers were not going to have things all their own way losing a couple of early wickets. Jimmy Carter (14) and Craig Gowdy (17) both made starts but couldn't go on. Stuart Atkins made 18 as the hosts reached 89-5 but then collapsed further to 100-7 then 101-8 before Ben Simms ensured a tighter victory than it should have been.

The win keeps the Paddlers faint promotion hopes alive, but they may live to regret 3 successive defeats in mid-season. A strong finish will be needed in the last five games to have any hope of catching the top two.

Warwickshire League Division 8

Wishaw 2nd XI vs Oakfield & Rowlands 2nd XI

In peak holiday season, unavailability took it's toll on the 2nd XI who suffered a heavy defeat against Wishaw. Stand-in skipper Darren French won the toss and elected to field first, but after an early wicket from Chris Smith, the visiting bowlers found the going tough. Werno Claassen picked up 3-35 and there was a wicket apiece for Finn Miles, Steve Hilliard and French, but some solid batting enabled Wishaw to make 222-8, a good effort on a damp wicket.

After tea the Paddlers lost both openers without scoring and never really recovered from this. Only four players made double figures as the side slipped to 78 all out ensuring a heavy defeat.

With better availability next week they will be hoping to get back on track when they entertain Solihull Blossomfield 2nd XI.