LEAMINGTON’S much-delayed pre-season got under way at the weekend with friendly fixtures against Walmley on Saturday and Barnt Green on Sunday.
On Saturday, the first XI lost a close encounter at Walmley by two wickets. The failure of the top order, with the exception of Harrison Smith who made 37, left Spa in trouble.
Newcomer Louis Glover made 25 and Chris Calcott an explosive 51 but Leamington’s total of 150 all out seemed inadequate. The wickets were shared between six bowlers.
The hosts made a similarly poor start as they fell to 33-5 before Jonathan Newis was joined by veteran Mo Sheikh.
Newis reached 36 before becoming one of four victims for Ollie Currill but Sheikh was aided by Jordan Hoffman whose rapid 32 saw Walmley to the brink of victory.
Sheikh was unbeaten on 36 as Walmley edged home by two wickets with three balls to spare.
The reverse fixture at a glorious Arlington Avenue saw Leamington chalk up an easy victory.
A young Walmley team took three early wickets although opener Cam Mitchell remained watchful in putting away the occasional bad ball with ease.
The scoring rate increased when Mitchell was joined by Jimbo Williams, playing his first match as a married man!
The change in status obviously worked wonders as he ended unbeaten on 82. Mitchell had fallen for 52, but Williams had been joined by newcomer Dan Williams who used his long levers to good effect in making 39 as Spa closed on 209-5.
A good spell from Will Field yielded two wickets, whilst Nick Couzens removed the middle order with three wickets as Walmley fell behind the rate.
They finished on 173-9, leaving Leamington winners by 36 runs.
The Sunday first team made the trip to Barnt Green but came out second best against a strong outfit.
The seconds, however, had better luck at home, making 167 all out thanks to 60 from Steve Vaughan.
Three wickets apiece from youngsters James Vaughan and Tom Bate supported by three from the relatively experienced Lee Credgington restricted Green to 155 all out in response.
The competitive season starts on Saturday with the two senior teams in reconstituted local divisions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Leagues.
Leamington will also enter two sides into the Cotswold Hills League – one playing cup and the other friendly matches.