Hopkins and Thornton get Spa to their target with the minimum of fuss
A five-wicket victory over Coventry & North Warwickshire combined with a defeat for Penkridge leaves Leamington 54 points clear at the top of Birmingham League Division Two with five games remaining.
Leamington won the toss and elected to bowl with cloud cover helping the ball to swing early on.
Despite losing Pickering early for six to Faisal Khalid (1-36), the visitors made steady progress as Bristow (12) and Reeves (35) took the score to 90 for two.
Nabeel Ashgar (2-25), Mark Ashcroft (3-13) and Grant Thornton (3-44) then put the brakes on as the visitors subsided to 177 all out in 42 overs.
Things could have been even worse for the visitors had Leamington not gifted them 64 extras, 51 of which were wides.
In reply, Harry Horsley (3-45) took a couple of early wickets to reduce Leamington to 37 for two.
Shahbaz Alam (34) and David Bailey (22) then staged a recovery before Horsley removed Alam, caught behind with the score on 58.
Bailey and Lee Hopkins added 36 before two quick wickets for Jaspal Phull (2-29) reduced the home side to 109 for five.
However, the in-form Hopkins (54 not out) and Thornton (44 not out) ensured Leamington picked up another 20 points with a stand of 69.
Leamington 2nds remain in a relegation dogfight following defeat at Barnt Green.
Batting first, Leamington made a good start through Jack Bewick and Ollie Currill.
The wheels came off, however, when Bewick was lbw to James East for 15, quickly followed by ducks for Billy Hallett and Simon Magill.
Leamington consolidated through Currill and Manpreet Gill, with Currill dropping anchor to make a patient 67 and the more-adventurous Gill finshing undefeated on 87.
However, their final score of 204 for six looked below par and so it was to prove.
Leamington made early inroads but the home side always looked in control.
Tom Brown was the lynchpin of the innings, making an undefeated 94 as Green cantered to a five-wicket win in the 44th over.
A tense, close-fought win over league leaders Shipston saw Leamington 3rds take an important stride towards Cotswold Hills Premier Division safety.
Shipston batted first and were kept in check by skipper Matt Dale’s thoughtful permutations of his bowlers.
From a high-point of 152 for two after 31 overs the innings subsided as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Will Field (4-47) was the most successful bowler as Shipston closed with a run out on 199.
Joe Somra (40) and Rob Ainscow (37) got the Leamington reply off to a good start with a stand of 73 in 20 overs.
David Lord (36) and Jake Salmon (32) continued the progress until they were dismissed in successive overs, leaving Leamington stuttering on 179 for five in the 41st over.
Matt Sellar’s pull for four in the penultimate over tilted the balance, leaving two needed from the final six balls and partner Dale had the pleasure of hitting the winning run for the second week running.