Wellesbourne were crowned champions of the Cotswold Hills Premier Division for the second year running after a 90-run win over Leamington 3rds at Loxley Close in the final game of the season.
The win was secured due to a superb club record partnership of 175 for the fifth wicket between Dave Barnett, who played an outstanding captain’s innings of 105 not out and Jamie Maynard who made an excellent 78.
These two came together with the champions struggling on 62 for four due to some fine bowling from the Leamington attack.
Opening bowlers Dan McCarthy and James Cowan made Bourne’s openers Gary Maynard and Darren Mole work hard for their runs and it was Cowan (3-38) who made the first breakthrough on 31 having Mole caught by Mark Reynolds. He struck again 17 runs later, having Maynard caught by Tom Mackrill for 32.
Ben Cowan then removed Jonny Spence, caught at slip by Connor Grant, and when John Edden went lbw to James Cowan things were looking bleak for the home side.
The innings needing rebuilding and cool heads were required and both Barnett and Maynard had that in abundance as they set about retrieving the situation.
Both were very watchful at the outset but as the partnership developed, they dominated the bowling and, with some tremendous strokeplay, took the game out of Leamington’s reach as the runs flowed.
Maynard eventually fell to a well-taken catch by Manpreet Gill off McCarthy with the score on 237 but Barnett continued on to his maiden top-flight century, passing 4,000 runs in doing so, and with Arron Snipe took the total to a commanding 269 for five as the home players and spectators began to breathe more easily.
Faced with a target of six an over to win, the Leamington innings had a similar start to Bourne’s as Gary Maynard and Snipe bowled tightly and run scoring was proving difficult.
With the score on 39 the first wicket fell when Snipe had Mackrill lbw for 26 and then 11 runs later the same bowler removed Gill, caught at mid-off by Spence.
After 20 overs Leamington were 76 for two and beginning to drop well off the rate required.
The introduction of young slow left-armer Sean Hopwood made Cowan’s eyes light up and he fell to a fine catch on the mid-wicket boundary by Gary Maynard for 27 and Bourne were now in the ascendancy as wickets began to fall.
Hopwood bowled both Reynolds and Treasure and Ben Cherry removed Ben Cowan to a catch by Snipe to reduce the visitors to 114 for six.
Leamington skipper Matt Dale and Grant tried to rescue the innings, adding 41 runs, but then it became the Tom Stephenson show as he took the final four wickets for 24 runs.
Grant went to another good boundary catch by Mole, McCarthy was superbly caught and bowled, Wudowski was bowled and, finally, Dale, having made 37, was caught by Snipe.
Leamington were all out for 179 in the 44th over, a defeat that confirmed their relegation.