Claverdon attack continue to prove a frightening prospect for Wootton

Matt Burge's 34 helped Leek Wootton 2nds get into three figures against Claverdon.
Matt Burge's 34 helped Leek Wootton 2nds get into three figures against Claverdon.

Leek Wootton’s 2nds were humbled at Claverdon for the second time in consecutive seasons as the top two sides from 2016’s Cotswold Hills Division Six faced each other for the first time this year.

Wootton’s total of 108 never looked to be enough but even the setting of this target was an achievement of sorts given the start that Wootton made to their innings.

Unbeaten table-toppers Claverdon were invited to field by Wootton skipper Dec Cook, who looked to his in-form top order for a continuation of their recent scoring exploits.

The hosts, however, had ideas of their own.

Bowling straight through their allocation of ten overs each, Claverdon’s opening seam pair of Joe Taylor (10-2-20-2) and Tony Andrews (10-6-12-3) went through the visitors’ front line batsmen with a high-class demonstration of disciplined line and length.

Andrews, in particular, mixed up his full away-swinger and his shorter in-seamer to devastating effect, and at one point took two wickets with consecutive balls which swung late to hold a line which would have detonated the base of middle stump had it not been for the intervention of batsmen’s footwear.

Each of Wootton’s top four fell for five runs apiece and when Lee Farndon was dismissed first ball the visitors were teetering at 24 for five in the 14th over, with dreadful memories of last year’s paltry 27 all out flooding back.

However, Matt Burge (34) and Ali MacDonald (16) pieced together some resistance before Ally Garman became the third and final man into double figures with his contribution of 11.

Both Garman and MacDonald were run out in mix-ups which were typical of the pressure that Claverdon’s asphyxiating fielding had generated.

In the end, Wootton did well to scrape their way to 108 all out and to consume 41 overs in the process.

Claverdon players were overheard planning a night on the town in the interval and they certainly appeared to be in a hurry to conclude the fixture as openers Arthur Payne (53) and Will Lawton (29) blasted their way to 63 without loss by the tenth over in a hail of boundaries.

Garman (5-2-34-2) then removed Lawton but Payne continued to bludgeon the bowling before Harkarn Sumal (5-1-21-2) and Garman took three further quick wickets with the score stuck on 92.

This caused no more than the briefest of alarms for Claverdon, with a couple of lusty blows, concluding with a towering six over deep mid-wicket from Fletcher bringing the proceedings to a rapid climax.

Leek Wootton 1sts’ slide continued with a seven-wicket defeat at home to Catherine de Barnes.

Stuart Budd top-scored with 65 as Leek Wootton were dismissed for 195 off the final ball of the 45th over.

Ian Cox, at number eight, was the next highest scorer with 28.

Kal Ahmed claimed four for 41 for Catney and was there at the end to see his side over the line with an unbeaten 30.

Luke Hanlon had earlier scored 77 for the visitors, with Kas Younas (33) and Adam Prince (22) ensuring a comfortable victory for Catney.