NORTON Lindsey & Wolverton bounced back last weekend with all three league teams recording good victories.
The Firsts visited Tanworth & Camp Hill in the Cotswold Hills League Premier Division
Skipper Martin Perfect won the toss and elected to set a target for the hosts, opening the batting himself with the in-form Gavin Shephard.
The pair moved quickly into gear with Shephard (173) leading the way as the score raced to 69 in just the 10th over.
Perfect (14) made way for Stuart Shephard (33) soon after, but they kept up the pace, reaching 147 in the 22nd.
It was clear a big total was on the cards as the opener continued to send the ball to the boundary time and time again.
After the departure of his brother, Gavin kept going, despite a poor showing from the middle order, when five wickets were lost for just 40 runs.
No.9 batsman David McInnes (25) stayed longer than most as the score moved effortlessly onwards.
Shephard’s epic innings ended in the last over of the 45 when he was trapped lbw, having sent the ball over the boundary 27 times (26 fours and one six), and the innings finished on 294 all out.
In reply, Andy Turnbull (103) and Christopher Barber (28) also got off to good start, despite tight bowling from McInnes, pushing the score to 59 by the end of the 11th over.
Change bowlers Richard Blythe and Sunny Nijjar finally got among the batsmen, but Turnbull stood firm and kept up with the required rate with James Carey (20) and Millerchip (18).
Finally, the Norton skipper introduced himself to the game as the fifth change bowler and removed Turnbull in his first over.
However, this success was to be have little immediate effect as L Gill (57) took over and pushed hard.
The No.6 made a valiant effort, but the pressure was ultimately too much as he was run out by Perfect with two overs to go and still 40 runs short.
The reply then fizzled out leaving Norton with a 20-run win as Tanworth finished on 274-7.
Blythe had the most success taking 3-71 off his 10 overs.
Norton edge into third place in the Premier Division and meet basement side Leek Wootton this Saturday with a golden opportunity to catch up with the leaders.
The Seconds team welcomed Kenilworth Wardens Thirdrds to Wolverton Road in what looked like a tough Division Two game.
Wardens had beaten league leaders Dorridge & Hockley Heath the previous weekend, while Norton had lost to strugglers The Lenches.
The visitors won the toss and decided to field, a decision which they may have regretted later in the day.
Liam Smith (13) and Mark White (42) opened the batting, but in the sixth over, Smith chased a wide ball and was caught behind.
Skipper Dan Fell (12) replaced him, but despite two confident boundaries, he was sent on his way when he misjudged a drive, caught off the bowling of Nick Whiting.
White found a more durable partner in Kieran Kite (21), putting on 45 together, and then James Robins (28), until the opener was finally removed in the 30th over.
With the score on 105-4 there was still plenty to do and nNo.6 Ian Baber (37) got down to work with Robins.
They put on 40 in the next seven overs when Baber was joined by club debutant Tarv Dhanjal (30no).
He quickly found the middle of the bat and the pair dropped straight into top gear, adding another 52 runs until Baber was caught with two overs to go.
No further wickets fell and Norton posted a competitive total of 200 at tea, but knew the job was only half done.
Having noticed the pitch had given better help to the slower bowlers, Tim Fell and Steve Webber took the new ball after the break and immediately put the Wardens batsmen under pressure.
Ageless Fell showed the simple art of line and length was the solution, while Webber’s deliveries spat and lifted to produce all sorts of problems.
The rate slowed to a crawl and the visitors had stumbled to 86-2 in the 26th over, way behind the rate.
Kite and Steve Dellow then took hold of the game and wickets really started to fall, as six batsmen departed for just 40 runs over the next 11 overs.
Wardens finally surrendered on 133 in the 39th over to give Norton a resounding victory, putting them firmly back in second place.
The victory was undoubtedly a whole team effort, with Dellow the most successful bowler, taking 4-16 off seven overs, while Kite took the final wicket to leave him with figures of 4-37.
Norton travel to strugglers Wellesbourne Seconds this weekend with the opportunity to further consolidate their promotion challenge.
Meanwhile, the Thirds were keen to get back on track in Division Seven against Kineton Seconds.
The visitors won the toss and batted, allowing skipper Martin Hall and George Landreth to take the new ball.
Only opener S McCarthy (32) survived their onslaught as wickets fell all around him and the score was on 14-4 in the tenth over.
When he was the sixth wicket to fall it was effectively the end of their innings, and despite a bright 15 from Charlie Hutchings, Kineton set a target of only 93.
Youngster G Landreth finished with an excellent 3-9 runs off his eight overs, while Hall returned to form with 5-14 off a full ten-over spell.
After tea, Norton chased down the runs in just over 23 overs, with Stuart Prout-Richardson (42no) leading the way.
Simon Hathaway (29) was out just before the line was crossed, but it was a comfortable win.
This leaves Norton nearly 50 points clear at the top of the table as they take a breather this weekend.