Leamington find Barnard’s Green’s Worcester duo impossible to shift

Leamington 2nds' Steve Dyer and Jimmy Gettings celebrate with bowler Will Field after the dismissal of Walmley's Nathan Hill. Picture: Morris Troughton
Leamington 2nds' Steve Dyer and Jimmy Gettings celebrate with bowler Will Field after the dismissal of Walmley's Nathan Hill. Picture: Morris Troughton

Leamington suffered a five-wicket defeat against a very disciplined Barnard’s Green side in Birmingham League Division One.

Batting first, Leamington got off to a steady start as Zack Fagg (17) and Jonathan Wigley struggled to come to terms with a slow-paced wicket.

Once Fagg was caught, David Bailey (32) then joined Wigley at the crease but when the home side turned to spinners Andy Ford (3-60) and George Rhodes (1-19) Leamington lost four wickets in quick succession, including Wigley who departed caught and bowled for an impressive 64.

Rob Williams (31) and Lee Hopkins (51) then set about rebuilding the innings before a cameo from James Williams (14 not out) lifted the visitors to 217 for seven off their 55 overs.

Phil Harris also picked up two wickets for Barnard’s Green.

In reply, despite dismissing Andrew Curtis early, a game-changing partnership between Worcestershire contracted duo George Rhodes and Alex Hepburn (39) took the game away from Leamington.

Leamington’s spin duo of Mark Ashcroft (2-39) and Fagg (2-57) took four quick wickets but it was too little, too late as Rhodes (95 not out) played a masterful innings and was well supported by Ford (27) and Jamie Tapper (23 not out).

Leamington 2nds had to settle for a winning draw after making a welcome return to form against Walmley.

The build-up to the match was disrupted by an injury to regular wicketkeeper Will Dixon - now the fourth keeper in the club to succumb to injury - with all-rounder Jim Gethins taking over the gloves and Steve Dyer returning from holiday in Weymouth to make up the numbers.

Once again, the seconds batted first and another promising start was made, with David Hawkes looking in ominous form before getting stumped on 57.

With Neil Smith (38) and debutant Karan Patra at the crease, Leamington were looking at setting a huge score.

However, poor shot selection and indecisive running meant wickets fell regularly.

Tom Davison (19) added some late impetus, while Patra ended his measured innings on 66 not out as Leamington totalled 243 for eight from their 50 overs.

Paul Lawrence and Will Field took early wickets and captain Jason Butler juggled his attack well, ensuring the run rate continued to build.

Once Berridge (50) was removed by Butler, Walmley’s chances of victory were gone, although dropped catches prevented Leamington forcing a win themselves as the visitors closed on 208 for six.

Patra rounded off his debut with figures of two for 62.

A rumbustious innings saw Leamington 3rds post a best-ever total of 315 for six and gain their first Cotswold Hills Premier Division win of the season at Alcester.

James Cowan (36) and Liam Killian (58) got the innings off to a brisk start on a good batting surface, with an opening stand of 67 in 13 overs.

From this sound base, the pace of the innings increased with runs coming at seven runs per over.

Major contributions in the second half of the innings came from Billy Hallett (89) and skipper Matt Dale (45 not out), who made a welcome return to form.

Alcester openers Lee (38) and Pilkington (38) set the pace with a ten-over opening stand of 67.

But from 82 for one, they slid to 96 for five as Matt Sellars (6-65) ran through the top order.

Supported by Wayne Killian (3-25) he reduced Alcester to 133 for nine before a spirited last-wicket stand of 33.