17th Dec, 2017

Leamington bag vital away victory to boost survival hopes

CRICKET: LEAMINGTON boosted their chances of avoiding the drop after returning from Bridgnorth with a full haul of 24 points.

A fine all-round team performance saw Spa win by a huge 143 runs.

Bridgnorth won the toss and asked Leamington to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions.

Openers Alex Mellor and Jon Wigley made a patient start, improved when Sulaiman Hussain joined Mellor taking the score to 89 before the Warwickshire wicketkeeper was caught for 37.

Hussain was bowled for an attractive 52, leaving Leamington on 158/4.

His dismissal allowed Hamish Kingston and Nathan Hooker to come together. The pair turned the game on its head with a 104-run partnership – Hooker batting particularly aggresively.

Kingston became one of three wickets for David Exall as Leamington ended on 283/8 from 51 overs.

Bridgnorth’s reply got off to the worst possible start when Tom Warner dismissed both openers with only a dozen runs on the board.

The Shropshire side regrouped to take the score to 70 before Wigley removed Ryan Lockley for 22.

But from this point, only Exall showed any fight as the middle order collapsed.

Just 62 runs later and the hosts were all out for 140 with nearly 13 overs to spare.

The win sees Leamington climb to fourth from bottom in their fight to avoid relegation to Division 2 of the Birmingham League.

2ND XI

Leamington’s second string were involved in a nail-biting two wicket win at home to rock bottom Halesowen.

In a match reduced to 41 over-a-side, Halesowen made a good start – reaching 91/2.

All-rounder Steve Dyer helped Leamington’s cause with a five-wicket haul (36/5) as the visiting side faultered mid-innings.

Nick Couzens chipped in with two wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 152.

A bad start for Leamington saw them quickly reduced to 20/2 with both openers bowled out cheaply.

Matt Payne and Couzens both made it into the 20s but were dismissed when seemingly well set.

At the innings’ worst point, Leamington found themselves on 118/8. But at this point skipper Jason Butler was joined by Tim Smedley to close the gap.

Butler used the aerial route to good effect and hit a match winning 37 not out.

Leamington squeezed home by two wickets, to ease away from the relegation zone.

3RD & 4TH XI

A relegation battle awaits Leamington’s third XI following a disappointing home loss against fellow struggler Tanworth & Camp Hill.

The visitors made a reasonable 205/8 in their 45 overs, but this should have been within the range of a strong Leamington batting line-up.

James Cowan and Mark Reynolds underlined this with an opening stand of 65, but no other batsmen made a contribution of note as the Spa side were bowled out for a paltry 145.

This leaves Leamington five points clear of the relegation zone.

In contrast, the fourth XI enjoyed a comfortable win at Tanworth.

Captain Jocky Wilson won the toss for the third time in a row and again asked the opposition to bat in favourable bowling conditions.

Tanworth failed to cope with Leamington’s varied attack, with Shaun Williams taking four wickets as the hosts were bowled out for 113.

In response there were useful contributions from Williams, Mark Davison and Wayne Killian, as Leamington breezed to 114 – 3 and a comfortable seven wicket win.

They remain in fourth place, only five points away from a promotion spot and play third-placed Blockley on Saturday.

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