Smith’s maximum effort keeps Spa in promotion mix

Barnards Green batsman George Rhodes gets himself in a tangle during the Birmingham League Division One clash with Leamington. Picture: Morris Troughton
Barnards Green batsman George Rhodes gets himself in a tangle during the Birmingham League Division One clash with Leamington. Picture: Morris Troughton

Leamington remain firmly in the Birmingham League Division One promotion picture following a last-gasp win at home to Barnards Green on Saturday.

Green, buoyed by two victories over Leamington earlier in the season, batted first and made a good start through George Rhodes and Andrew Curtis, both on the books at Worcestershire.

They added 54 before Rhodes, son of Worcester coach and former England stumper Steve, gloved the pacy Will Field to Lee Hopkins behind the stumps.

Field then disposed of Worcestershire’s new boy Alex Hepburn for a boundary and, with Tapper being dismissed by Nabeel Asghar, Green slid to 83 for three.

On a slow wicket which rewarded patience, Green regrouped as Phil Harris joined Curtis, who had taken root.

They took the total to 143 before Mark Ashcroft accounted for both, Curtis making 59, hailing a clatter of wickets.

The tail, in the form of Ryan Tongue and Ashlea Brewer, wagged to some effect, with the latter carting the bowling to all parts in making a bright 25.

The cagey Neil Smith returned to mop up the tail, ending with three for 27, with Ashcroft taking three for 51 as Green were bowled out for 188.

Despite losing Jon Wigley in the opening exchanges, Leamington made steady if slow progress in pursuit of a tricky target.

Both Jamie March and David Bailey passed 30 but were dismissed without going on to bat through.

Another good partnership between Lee Hopkins (26) and Grant Thornton (34) took the score to 148 for four before three quick wickets swung the match in Green’s favour.

However, the target of 28 in four overs was made to look easy as Smith and Nasghar took a liking to Green’s bowling.

A clean strike for six from Smith saw Leamington home with an over to spare for a three-wicket victory.

A torrential downpour at Walmley ended Leamington 2nds’ hopes of victory, leaving them three points behind Division One leaders Moseley going into a bank holiday weekend which sees the top two meet.

After losing the toss, Leamington were put into bat and experienced opening pair Steve Dyer and Dave Hawkes quickly set about building a commanding score until Hawkes fell due to a rash shot.

Steve Dyer, struggling with injury, dealt mainly in boundaries but finally holed out in the deep for 65 with the score on 139.

Leamington’s middle order maintained an aggressive approach and Tom Warner (38), Billy Hallett (42) and Matt Davison (58) all made useful cameos as the visitors were bowled out in the 49th over for 274.

The Walmley innings began well with some wayward bowling allowing them to reach 50 without loss.

However, the rain arrived to destroy any hopes of a result being achieved.