CRICKET: NORTON LINDSEY and Wolverton Cricket Club celebrated a new landmark in its 131 year history at the weekend by fielding three league teams for the first time.
And the occasion was made even more memorable when all three sides delivered victories on the first day of the Cotswold Hills League season.
The trickiest fixture on paper was the newly-promoted first team’s visit to 2016 league champions Wellesbourne.
Wellesbourne won the toss and invited Norton to bat on a green-top wicket which would more than likely suit bowlers.
This appeared to be a good decision when the visitors were reduced to 37-2 in the tenth over.
However opener Martin Perfect (69) combined with Richard Blythe (71) to put on over 100 for the third wicket.
This laid a platform for the middle order batsmen to take the total well over 200 for the loss of only 5 wickets.
Wellesbourne’s reply followed a similar pattern when they lost two early wickets, followed by a good stand between Wheeler and Maynard.
An accurate 10 over bowling spell from Dave McInnes (31/2) kept the pressure on the champions.
Seventh batsman Edden (41) looked set to spoil the day – but in the fading light, Glenn Lacey took a crucial catch off his own bowling to swing the game back the visitor’s way.
Finishing with figures of 45/4, Lacey was the star as the innings ran out of steam, giving Norton the win by 21 runs.
The second team welcomed Exhall and Wixford to Wolverton Road and decided to bat on a dry wicket.
Openers Dan Fell (75) and Mark White (31) got to work and when they were parted in the 20th over they had put on 111.
Conor Green (88*) joined Fell to continue the good work until the skipper departed with the score on 159.
A big hitting second half saw Norton total 269 – ensuring they picked up maximum batting points.
The visiting side struggled to keep up with the required run rate, and wickets soon fell as Norton won by a massive 144 runs.
Meanwhile the new third team managed to pull off a seven wicket win by chasing down Astwood Bank’s target of 177 in 38 overs.
The victories marked a turnaround for the club who continue to expand the opportunities for cricket to members of all ages and capabilities.