Crucial toss loss leaves Spa rooted to the bottom

An anxious moment for Leamington 2nds batsman Joe Somra on his way to a half-century for the Spa  men. Picture: Morris Troughton

An anxious moment for Leamington 2nds batsman Joe Somra on his way to a half-century for the Spa men. Picture: Morris Troughton

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Leamington slipped to an eight-wicket defeat at Ombersley on Saturday to remain rooted to the bottom of the Birmingham League Premier Division.

Leamington arrived at the Worcestershire ground to find an overnight thunderstorm had left the covered wicket wet and the remainder of the square dry, making the toss vital.

Once again, they called incorrectly and only a third-wicket partnership of 45 between Alex Mellor and Jon Wigley threatened to wrest control from the hosts.

Warwickshire’s Mellor made 30 and Wigley 40, but when the latter was dismissed with the score on 98, Leamington’s middle and late order failed to contribute.

A total of 115 was below par, even on a sub-standard wicket, with Neil Slade (5-21) taking advantage supported by Andy Robertson (2-16).

There was still some devil in the wicket as Tom Warner and Matt Davison each took an early wicket.

As the pitch began to dry batting became easier and Ombersley eased through the gears, with Uday Kaul (44 not out) and Nick Hammond (35 not out) seeing them home.

Leamington 2nds fell to a first defeat of the season at home to Shifnal.

Batting first, the Spa men lost two early wickets before Billy Hallett joined Joe Somra.

The latter made a patient 52 and Hallett 25, but the middle order failed to fire, with the exception of 16-year-old Robert Lord who made a cultured, unbeaten 33.

Leamington were bowled out for a below-par 181, with five-and-a-half overs unused.

Shifnal made a steady response and despite Leamington ringing the changes, the Shropshire side remained in the box seat, with Ian Bissell scoring an undefeated 59 to see them home to a five-wicket win.

Jason Butler took three for 42, but it was a day to forget for Leamington.

An authoritative 122 not out by David Hawkes, mixing watchful defence with powerful scoring shots, brought Leamington 3rds a most welcome first win of the season.

Visitors Exhall & Wixford had got their innings off to a rapid start and by the end of the tenth over Morris (30), Smith (26) and Kerby (45) had taken the score to 75 for one.

Jimmy Gethins (5-37) then joined the attack and the Leamington bowlers steadily regained control.

Exhall slumped to 135 for eight before a thoughtfully constructed partnership of 51 between Perry (13) and Hollands (50 not out) lifted them to 211 for nine.

Hawkes and Tom Mackrill (44) got the Leamington reply off to a brisk start and, at the 22-over drinks interval, they were 118 without loss.

The fall of three quick wickets brought Gethins to the crease to complete his day’s work. He carefully worked the singles to keep Hawkes on strike and the latter plundered the Exhall attack to bring the final 80 runs in just nine overs and three balls.