Norton Lindsey & Wolverton shock champions in Premier Division opener

Wellesbourne bowler John Edden delivering to Norton Lindsey & Wolverton's Richard Blyth.
Wellesbourne bowler John Edden delivering to Norton Lindsey & Wolverton's Richard Blyth.

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton celebrated a new landmark in their 131-year history when the club fielded three league teams for the very first time.

The event was even more memorable when all three sides delivered victories on the first day of the Cotswold Hills League season.

Martin Perfect hit 69 as Norton Lindsey & Wolverton posted 237 for five against Wellesbourne. Pictures: Morris Troughton

Martin Perfect hit 69 as Norton Lindsey & Wolverton posted 237 for five against Wellesbourne. Pictures: Morris Troughton

The trickiest fixture on paper was the newly-promoted first team’s visit to reigning champions Wellesbourne.

Missing four of last year’s successful title-winning side, Bourne won the toss and skipper Dave Barnett asked Norton to bat first.

They were rewarded in the third over when Gary Maynard had James Pyatt caught at short cover by Tommy Wheeler.

When Ben Cherry trapped Stuart Shepherd lbw it looked a good move as Norton were 37 for two in the eighth over.

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton 2nds. Picture submitted

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton 2nds. Picture submitted

However, Wellesbourne’s hopes of making further inroads into the batting were thwarted by an excellent third-wicket stand of 137 between Martin Perfect and Richard Blyth.

Both players were in good form as they set about the Bourne attack and with the home fielding not as sharp as it usually is the total was soon accelerating until Darren Mole had Blyth caught by John Edden for a well-crafted 71.

Perfect followed soon after as Wheeler caught him off Mole for 69 to leave Norton 181 for four.

Andrew Cooke and Rory Baker kept up the good work for Norton until Jamie Maynard bowled Cooke for 12, with Baker finishing unbeaten on 26 as the visitors’ innings closed on a healthy 237 for five.

Mole (2-41), Jamie Maynard (1-24), Cherry (1-31) and Gary Maynard (1-49) claimed the wickets.

Wellesbourne suffered an early loss in reply when Gary Maynard edged David McInnes to wicketkeeper Shepherd with the score on nine.

Wheeler and Barnett then began to consolidate but on 49 Barnett (11) fell to the same combination.

Wheeler was next to go, again caught behind, this time off Glenn Lacey for 34 and then Shepherd had his fourth victim as Jamie Maynard (24) edged Andy Dewar behind to leave Bourne on 95 for four in the 23rd over.

Once again, Wellesbourne began to build a partnership with Travis Butcher and Jonny Spence at the crease but when they both went for 24 to the bowling of Blyth with the score on 135, the home side were staring defeat in the face.

However, Edden and Mole had other ideas and, with Edden leading the way with three sixes, a home victory was seeming possible.

However, on 199, Edden was caught and bowled by Lacey for an enterprising 41 and his dismissal ended any hopes of a home win.

Mole (26 not out) fought on valiantly but Cherry and Sam Singleton perished to Lacey, leaving Mole and last-man James Blakemore to see out the last couple of overs as Wellesbourne ended on 216 for nine.

Bourne were left to rue the fact that nobody could go on and play the big innings needed to win the match but nothing could take away from an excellent start to the season for the newly promoted club.

Lacey, with four for 45, McInnes (2-31), Blyth (2-45) and Dewar (1-46) grabbed the wickets.

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton 2nds swept to an emphatic 144-run victory at home to Exhall & Wixford in Cotswold Hills Division Three.

Norton Lindsey won the toss and their decision to bat on a hard, dry wicket was vindicated when openers Dan Fell (75) and Mark White (31) put on 111 before being parted in the 20th over.

Conor Green (88 not out) joined Fell to continue the good work until the skipper departed with the score on 159.

Andrew Dellow (31) then arrived at the wicket and in typical style, kept the score moving briskly with six quick boundaries.

After his departure, Green continued to dispatch the bowling, scoring 12 boundaries including two maximums.

At tea, Norton had amassed 269, collecting maximum batting points and setting the visitors a stiff target.

Opener Jonathan Simpson (31) was up for the challenge, hitting a number of boundaries and, with number four David Rogers, took the attack to the hosts.

Opening bowler Steve Dellow kept a tight line (10-2-33-2), but the introduction of his son Andrew saw the partnership broken with his first ball.

Steve Keen briefly kept the score moving, but when he, too, was dismissed by Dellow (4-0-17-3), the tail was mopped up by Green who took three for 12 off just three overs.

The bowlers were assisted by fine catches from Sam Rushton, Andrew Dellow and Fell and an inspired keeping performance from Ian Baber.

Over at Snitterfield, the new third string - a mixture of youth and experience - inserted Astwood Bank, who accumulated runs steadily after an early wicket to John Maundrell.

The introduction of Nils Purser and Simon Hathaway changed the game as wickets started to fall.

Tim Fell then came on to claim two more wickets, leaving Norton chasing a target of 177.

Purser (52) and James Thomas (34) laid a good base in reply, but when they and Maundrell were removed, there was a slight wobble at 141 for three.

Nerves were settled when Hathaway (27 not out) and Charlie Mann (12 not out) saw Norton Lindsey over the line in the 38th over.