CRICKET: NORTON Lindsey were one of many clubs across the county to be hit by the weather on Saturday as the 1st XI’s game against Catherine de Barnes was abandoned with each team claiming five points.
The game at Catherine-de-Barnes was the only fixture in the Premier Division not to be played when the home team called off at 11am.
With only five points awarded, this saw the 1st XI lose their lead and fall to 4th place as top-table rivals Leek Wootton, Shipston, and Wellesbourne all managed to play and win.
The 2nd XI were more fortunate though as their game against Stratford Bards at home survived the rain.
Against a team sitting bottom in the Third Division of the Cotswold League, Norton skipper Dan Fell felt confident a win could be picked up.
However it became clear the cancellation of Stratford 2nds’ Birmingham League game against Handsworth allowed the visiting side to field a significantly improved team.
Norton Lindsey batted first and were soon in trouble at 43/4.
A solid anchor innings from Conor Green (60) steadied the ship while he received support from Tony Walter (16) and Ian Barber (21) as Norton Lindsey reached 132/6.
After Green’s dismissal in the 40th over, Steve Bliwert (23*) pushed the total further – setting a target of 161 at the break.
In reply, Bards suffered an immediate setback when Noble (1) was sent back thanks to a direct run-out from Green at gulley.
Skyes (7) was then removed by Bliwert after he was caught behind by Baber.
Norton responded further with an intensity that asked many unexpected questions of the experienced batsmen.
Opening bowler Bliwert delivered a mean ten-over spell to give little away, while Andrew Dellow produced a memorable four-ball sequence that set up the dismissal of Bishop (3), his stumps disappearing in all directions.
Smart (78*) and Langman (59) used all their experience to dig in, dispatching loose balls and edging towards their target, which was reached in the 35th over.
Despite the loss, Norton maintain their position at the top of Division Three as their rivals failed to play.
Their performance, against such a strong team, can only be a massive boost to their confidence when they visit 3rd placed Stanway this weekend.
Elsewhere the 3rd XI’s game against Chipping Campden was abandoned.
They drop to 3rd in the table behind County Council Staff and Warwick, who both managed to play and win.