12th August 2017: DIVISION 5 – Great Alne vs Leek Wootton 2nd XI

SEESAW MATCH DECIDED BY WOOTTON’S BUNGLED CHASE

Leek Wootton’s 2nd XI fell 39 runs short in their chase of 151 at Great Alne, in a game which saw both sides failing to capitalise on strong platforms that had been set by their respective top orders.

Invited to bat first, Great Alne set off at a roaring gallop, going at seven runs per over early on.  While opening bowler Dec Cook (10-1-30-1) bowled through and exercised good control from the Northern end, the seam bowling from the other end was clattered to all parts for seventy runs in the same period.  Having skated along to 102-2 by the twentieth over, the hosts looked well set for an onslaught in the latter part of their innings.  However both Chris Roberts (8-2-24-4) and Ash Clifford (7.1-2-25-4) recovered spectacularly well from a couple of early wayward overs to asphyxiate the remainder of the first innings in taking four cheap wickets apiece.  Once opener J Lawrence (70) had been trapped LBW by Roberts, and A Henderson (32) had been skittled by Clifford, none of the remaining batsmen were allowed to reach double figures.  Wootton’s tenacious recovery meant that they were able to take tea having set themselves a target of 151, with an extra nine overs to play with.

Requiring just a touch under three runs per over to claim victory, Wootton’s early efforts mirrored those of their hosts.  Two early wickets were followed by a stabilising and watchful partnership of 52 runs between top scorer Stuart Turner (30) and Phil Robinson (26).  Turner in particular looked well set as he combined judicious accumulation with occasional powerful front foot strokes through and over the off-side ring.  However, Wootton lost three wickets in the blink of an eye with the score static on 80, and when Turner was run out in a catastrophic mix-up before triple figures had been reached, Wootton were six wickets down and Great Alne were circling, scenting the kill.  Shortly thereafter three further wickets fell in a bunch for just three runs, and by the time their last man was adjudged caught behind, Wootton had subsided in a collapse which saw their last eight wickets fall for 32 runs. T Alder (10-2-19-3) and J Ward (5-0-26-3) did the majority of the damage for the hosts, but Wootton will rue a game which they appeared well set to secure when at the midpoint of their chase.

Stuart Turner is watchful in defence on his way to Wootton’s top score