Norton make the most of a Perfect start to overhaul Wootton at the top

Richard Pozzi scored an unbeaten 45 for Norton Lindsey & Wolverton in his first appearance of the campaign. Picture: Morris Troughton
Richard Pozzi scored an unbeaten 45 for Norton Lindsey & Wolverton in his first appearance of the campaign. Picture: Morris Troughton

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton thrashed previously unbeaten Leek Wootton by 110 runs to replace their hosts at the top of the Cotswold Hills Premier Division.

Norton skipper James Pyatt called right at the Memorial Ground and elected to bat first and his decision was vindicated by a solid 113-run opening wicket stand between Martin Perfect (60) and Steve Rushton, scored off only 19 overs.

Rushton was in imperious form and hammered 16 fours before he was caught behind for 78.

Richard Pozzi (45 not out), in his first league game of the season, combined well with Richard Blythe (17) to keep the pace up through the middle order.

After the departure of Blythe, and a brief visit by Rory Baker (2), Pyatt (34 not out) joined Pozzi for the final seven overs, putting on a 71 runs to set a challenging target of 260.

In reply, Leek Wootton were never in the hunt.

Sandeep Murthy, batting at three, stuck around for 30 overs for his 83, but could not find a reliable partner to put together any sort of challenge to the Norton score and was the ninth batsman as the innings closed on 150.

The star with the ball was undoubtedly Andy Dewar, whose seven devastating overs ripped the heart out of the Wootton batting, claiming six wickets for just 29 runs.

Leek Wootton’s second string eased their way to a seven-wicket victory over Rowington 2nds in Division Five, chasing down a target of 141 thanks to a sparkling all-round display from Ally Garman.

Invited to bat first, hosts Rowington were confronted by a strong Wootton pace attack and found runs difficult to come by.

Finn Bailey was once more unfortunate to pass the outside edge on numerous occasions in a hostile spell of 7-1-19-0 and after a wayward few overs from Garman, wily seamer Tony Brooks exerted a stranglehold over the home batsmen.

Spin twins Harkarn Sumal and Chris Roberts then applied significant pressure, combining in the middle overs for figures of 16-4-39-2, with Roberts dislodging the dangerous Walsh for 22 thanks to a sharp catch in the covers from Dec Cook.

Home skipper Clive Haywood was the standout batsman, watchfully adding 34 runs.

However, Garman returned for a blistering second spell to achieve figures of 8.2-0-34-6, disposing of Haywood and a callow Rowington tail to curtail the innings on 140 inside 42 overs.

Wootton’s top order were subjected to an asphyxiating opening spell from Billy Sly (10-5-8-2) who removed both openers.

When Ben Bramley was caught at square leg for 28, Wootton appeared to be struggling with the scoreboard showing mere 40 for three in the 20th over.

However, Wootton skipper Dec Cook’s decision to promote Garman from his usual tail-end slot to the pivotal number four position proved inspired.

Garman (42 not out) conducted significant reconnaissance with Dan McKenzie (37 not out) before the pair gradually eased through the gears.

Enthusiastic and well-set fields from the home side meant runs remained at a premium, but the required rate was well controlled by the fourth-wicket pair as they compiled an assured 92-run partnership to bring home the points for Wootton.