THE SHORTENED competitive season got off to a mixed start for Leamington.
The First XI made the short trip to league champions Berkswell and were soundly beaten in the first Graham Williamson Trophy regional fixture.
The hosts were almost entirely made up of current or former First Class cricketers and they eased to a comfortable victory.
Batting first, Berkswell made a confident start through Ateeq Javid and England Under 19 star Dan Mousley adding 84 before Javid fell for 31.
Mousley was joined by Chris Whittock and they prospered on a good pitch and seemed destined for a large total until Whittock was caught behind off Spa captain Jon Wigley for 65 with the score on 202.
Wigley then set about Berkswell’s middle and late order, firstly removing Mousley for an excellent 96 and then five more batsmen, including a hat-trick.
Berkswell closed on 243 all out with Wigley’s return of 7-41 by far the pick of the bowlers.
Spa started poorly in reply, sliding to 33-6 with two wickets for former Warwickshire and Spa man Grant Thornton.
Wigley made 32, before the tail wagged primarily thanks to an unbeaten 42 from Louis Glover. Joe Midgley used the long-handle to good effect in making 27 before Spa were dismissed for 129 as seven bowlers shared the wickets for Berkswell.
The second string maintained their recent dominance over neighbours Kenilworth Wardens in the South East Group of the Warwickshire League.
Batting first at Arlington Avenue, Leamington made a steady start through Cam Mitchell and Jacob Sargeant.
They added 63 for the first wicket before Mitchell fell for 31. Sargeant went shortly after for 37, leaving Jamie Treasure and Ibby Afzal to increase the run rate.
Afzal made 24, allowing Dan Williams to join Treasure. They took the score past 200 before Treasure went for 56. Williams ended unbeaten on 34 as Leamington ended on 204-7 with three wickets for Wardens’ Tom Clayton.
Wardens made a cautious start, losing Jonathan Phillips to Will Field with the score on 24. Although a number of batsmen got starts, none were able to apply much pressure on Spa’s bowlers.
Although Wardens were in the match at 85-3, the bowlers maintained their grip primality through the returning Field who wrapped up the tail with a hat-trick to earn fine figures of 5-17 as Wardens were tumbled out for 108.
The Thirds travelled to Kineton in CHL Cup Group B but lost narrowly by three wickets.
Henry Mortimer top-scored with 34 and Joe Somra made 30 as Leamington were bowled out for 186, aided by 37 extras.
Although Spa took wickets regularly, they were unable to stem the scoring rate as Rory Geary-Heaton top-scored with 44 as Kineton edged to 192-7.
The Fourth XI hosted Warwick CC Staff in a friendly and deserved a five-wicket win.
WCC Staff were dismissed for 163, with Oli Bragg making 46 at the top of the order. There were three wickets apiece for James Vaughan and Arnab Podder.
Veteran Paul Wilson carried his bat for an unbeaten 66 as Spa reached the target with seven balls to spare.
Vital middle order impetus from Tom Treharne’s 25 provided support for Wilson, allowing Osain Caitlin to see Spa over the line.