CRICKET: Willoughby suffer second league defeat

Martin Nichols (pictured batting last summer) fell just one run short of his half century on 49
Martin Nichols (pictured batting last summer) fell just one run short of his half century on 49

Round-up and fixtures for the week ahead

Northamptonshire County League

Division 6

Loddington & Mawsley II v Willoughby

Willoughby 202 for 5

Loddington & Mawsley 203 for 7

Loddington & Mawsley won by 3 wickets

Willoughby suffered their second successive league defeat in the NCL as early league leaders Loddington continued their unbeaten start to the season.

A fine afternoon and lovely surroundings greeted the visitors who lost the toss, were put into bat and soon in trouble with once again the fall of two early wickets. That brought the experienced pair of Ashley Rayner and Martin Nichols to the middle and after negotiating more pressure from the opening bowlers, the pair started to see the runs, to the extent of an excellent partnership of 137 before Nichols finally falling one short of his half century. Skipper Ben Hollis joined Rayner in the middle and continued to take the attack to the home side, so much so in the final over, in trying to get Rayner to the strikers end, the latter was run out two runs short of what would have been a thoroughly deserved century. Willoughby finally ended up with 202-4 off their 45 overs. Ryan Hawthorn took 2 for 20 for the hosts, although Colin Tharop’s nine over spell which included eight maidens reflected the early stranglehold placed on the visitor’s batting.

In reply the Loddington openers got off to something of a flying start and had 90 on the board for the loss of one wicket after only 14 overs, aided by some good fortune with a variety of edges finding the boundary.

The pattern continued until an excellent piece of fielding between Callum Hanks and Nichols managed to run out the other opener, Steve Denton who made 60. The experienced bowling attack of Mark Fell and Nichols then started to restrict the runs slightly, with Fell taking a couple of wickets.

However Loddington were still well ahead of the run rate, and even after a mini collapse when Farrow was brought back into the attack which saw three wickets fall in one over, a run out and 2 wickets for the youngster, Loddington were able to see out the chase and get the runs they needed with three overs to spare. Farrow ended up taking 3-29 and Fell 2-37.

Sunday Club Friendly

Willoughby v Rugby

Willoughby 171 all out

Rugby 173 for 8

Rugby won by 2 wickets

A slightly wet Sunday did not dampen the spirits for a highly entertaining and close game at the Green between Willoughby and Rugby which went the way of the visitors.

Willoughby were put into bat and didn’t get off to the best of starts losing Matt Cartridge early on. This saw Graham Hallam enter the middle to brush off some cobwebs in his first start of the season. A few more quick wickets fell to the young Rugby bowling attack, before Hallam also departed after an entertaining knock of 24. This brought young Justin Hanks into bat who made 37 which included six boundaries and a maximum. At this stage Willoughby were seven wickets down with still 13 overs to go, however Mark Fell was still in the middle and used all his experience to help put on the runs and guide the lower order through the remaining overs. He was the last wicket to fall with two balls of the innings remaining not after a knock of 57 which included seven boundaries and a maximum as Willoughby reached 171 all out. Rugby used all 11 players in their bowling attack with two wickets apiece for Jamie Frearson and Daanyal Sadiq.

In reply Callum Hanks struck in his first over to remove one of the Rugby openers, but this brought the experienced Charlie Robards to the middle who looked in typical fashion steadied the Rugby ship before setting about chipping away at the run chase.

A wicket for Liam Walecezk brought Robards’ son George to the middle in a nice touch for father and son to bat alongside each other, until George was caught and bowled after making 10.

Robards senior continued to bat superbly before eventually falling to Walecezk for 76 and Willoughby skipper Rayner came into the attack and picked up a couple of wickets to bring the game to an exciting climax. Samay Patel came on the other end and picked up thoroughly deserved wicket, as did Nikesh Mistry, however Rugby’s penultimate pair of batsmen in Jonty Scott-Brown and Theo Nelson held firm and with 13 and 12 runs respectively saw Rugby through to a two wicket win with an over to spare.

Credit to both sides for a thoroughly entertaining game.

Fixtures

Thursday 6th – 6.30pm

Rugby and District Cricket League - Under 15 League: Rugby v Willoughby

Saturday 8th – 1.00pm starts

Northamptonshire County League

Division 6: Willoughby v East Haddon II

Division 13: Great Oakley II v Willoughby II

Sunday 9th– 1.30pm start

Club Friendly: Willoughby v WCC Exiles