Leamington’s league season got off to a poor start on Saturday with only the Fourth XI gaining the upper hand.
The 1sts made the first of many long road trips, travelling to Shropshire side Shifnal in Birmingham League Division One.
The home side were asked to bat first and new Spa captain Jon Wigley’s decision was immediately justified as Matthew Davison and Nabeel Asghar both took early wickets and opener Steve Leach was run out for 23.
Asghar took wickets at regular intervals, ending with the fine figures of four for 31 from his ten overs.
Shifnal’s Connor Dudley was untroubled, however, and his run-a-ball 70 included three sixes before he fell to Leamington new-boy Perry Derrick.
Shifnal were dismissed for 190 with five balls of their overs remaining with Davison taking two for 18 and Derrick two for 22.
Leamington made a dreadful start to their reply and were soon 24 for four, with three wickets falling to Alex Wyatt.
Wigley and Zimbabwean Will Mashinge righted the ship somewhat before Wigley was bowled for 35.
Mashinge made 36 but when he was dismissed at 102, Leamington’s hopes appeared over.
Sulaiman Hussain made a patient undefeated 43 but despite 25 from Tom Warner, Leamington were bowled out for 172 with two overs unused.
The second string, under the stewardship of Jack Hawkes, hosted Shifnal in the return fixture.
Batting first, Leamington made a slow start with only Max Kenny making an impression before he was bowled for 33.
Hawkes played a captain’s innings of 63 in the middle order but the tail failed to wag and Leamington were bowled out for 162 with almost eight overs unused.
The Achilles heel of recent seasons, the generous donation of extras, was to strike again in the Shifnal reply.
None of the Shifnal batsmen scored more than 22 but they had no need to as Leamington leaked 60 extras, including 57 wides to allow the Shropshire side to canter to a five-wicket victory with 11 overs to spare.
Leamington 3rds visited Bretforton in Cotswold Hills Division One and batting first made only 110.
Skipper Jack Jewson and Rob Williams were the only batsmen to pass 20, with Luke Richardson (4-20) the pick of a good bowling attack.
Two early wickets for Dan McCarthy made things interesting for a while but an unbeaten 46 from Bruce Ford saw Bretforton ease home with five wickets in hand.
The one bright spot for Leamington was provided by the 4ths, still under the stewardship of Paul Wilson.
Visitors Ebrington owed much to opener and skipper Josh Collings who made 80 out of a total of 152 as Leamington’s bowlers chipped away at the other end. Mark Davison was the pick with three wickets and he took that form into the Leamington innings, making a vital 58 as others struggled.
Despite five wickets for Ebrington’s Cross, Leamington sneaked to a two-wicket win in their first match in Division Three.