Bromyard 1st XI went down to an 8 wicket defeat at home to high-flying Stourport, their fourth league defeat in succession. After a wet week involving thunderstorms and persistent showers, the visitors won the toss and asked Bromyard to bat first on an understandably soft pitch at Flaggoners Green. Edd Oliver and Nick Leighton did their best to blunt the visiting opening attack of Ryan Derrick and former Kidderminster and Ombersley all-rounder Ted Baylis, probably the best opening attack in the WCL Premier Division this season, but at significant cost to the run rate on a difficult pitch on which several balls ‘popped’ and took divots out of the soft surface. The score was just 15 in the 15th over when Edd Oliver (7) received a Ryan Derrick delivery that popped off a length, hitting his top hand glove and ballooning to slip for a simple catch. In the very next over Ian Bullock (1) got a leading edge to a delivery from first-change seamer Lee Waldron and was caught by Derrick at mid-off, and when George Bouston (5) mis-timed a cover drive off Waldron and was simply caught at short extra-cover, Bromyard had slipped to 27-3 in the 22nd over.
Having weathered the storm of the opening 20 overs Nick Leighton broke the shackles with a couple of pulls through mid on for four, and Rob Wilis (15) played a typically flamboyant knock before edging Waldron behind to make it 58-4 in the 28th over. Nick Leighton and his elder brother Greg now took the attack to the visitors’ change bowlers, Greg pulling with conviction and Nick driving well through the covers, before Nick Leighton edged medium pacer Charlie Foley behind and was caught for 41 off 97 balls with 7 fours, to leave the score 100-5 in the 37th over. Ed Smith (4) was unluckily bowled off his pads by Foley 4 overs later, and Greg Leighton went on the attack to the off-spin of his opposite number Andy Siwicki, striking him into the QE for two sixes. Alex Parker (7) got a leading edge and was caught off Charlie Foley’s bowling at mid-wicket, and shortly afterwards a heavy shower forced the players off. After a break of half an hour or so the match was reduced to 48 overs per side, and Greg Leighton raced past his fifty, his second of the season for the 1sts and 11th in all for the 1sts in the WCL. Charlie Foley was tonked for successive sixes by Leighton over long-on and over ‘The Doctor’s garden’, but Foley gained a modicum of revenge by bowling Leighton for a captain’s knock of 65 off 65 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes, John Parker making 10* and Dean Corbett, in his first league game for the 1sts in 11 years, making 1* as Bromyard finished their 48 overs on 179-8. Charlie Foley took 4-38 from 7 overs for Stourport and fellow medium-pacer Lee Waldron 3-33 from 10 overs.
In reply Greg Leighton and former Kidderminster opening batsman Craig Wood had an engaging battle, Wood seizing on any loose deliveries and Leighton making several balls talk and lift on the still soft pitch, before Craig Siwicki sliced a drive having attempted to hit Leighton on the up and was brilliantly caught one-handed by a diving Ed Smith at extra cover for a duck, making the score 10 for 1 in the 3rd over. Having raced to 26 off 29 balls Wood was undone by a Leighton delivery that kept lower than he expected as he shaped to pull, and was lbw to make the score 32-2 in the 11th over. Key batsman Ted Baylis now joined another former Kidderminster 1sts player, George Hatfield, at the wicket, and was soon playing some typically forthright drives through mid-on and down the ground, while Hatfield concentrated on survival.
By the 20 over mark Stourport were 84-2, with Greg Leighton (2-47) and George Bouston having bowled out their full allowance of 10 overs each. Hatfield and Baylis played Dave Taylor’s opening few overs with circumspection, but Baylis went on the attack to Alex Parker and Rob Willis at the other end, flicking Parker for a couple of boundaries off his toes and then, having been put down behind the wicket off Rob Willis’s first ball, bringing up his fifty soon afterwards and striking him for a couple of sixes over long-on and midwicket. Having passed fifty Baylis decided that Taylor’s off-spin had to go too, and he ran down the wicket and struck two fours and a six from one Taylor over. Another six over midwicket followed for Ted Baylis off Rob Willis’s bowling, and with his hundred just one hit away the hard-hitting all-rounder took on the long cow corner boundary, but just cleared a jumping Nick Leighton with another big hit from Dave Taylor’s bowling into the paddock beside the nets, and reached an excellent hundred. Another brief stoppage for rain ensued, but the covers were soon whipped on and off, and Stourport reached their target after 36.4 overs, on 186-2, Ted Baylis making an unbeaten 104 off just 88 balls with 10 fours and 7 sixes, and George Hatfield making a resilient 32* off 101 balls with 3 fours. Bromyard are now in 6th place in the WCL Premier Division and travel to their old Herefordshire rivals, 7th-placed Brockhampton, on Saturday.
The 2nds meanwhile travelled to South Shropshire to take on Alveley 1sts for the first time, and were greeted with a wet pitch that saw the match reduced to 40 overs per side after a delayed start. On his return to the side after 3 months away from BCC with a hamstring injury, Pete Whittenbury bowled a superb spell to pick up 4-6 from 8 overs with 5 maidens, as Alveley collapsed to 86-7, only Luke Brant (32) and Angus Snodgrass (27) of the top 8 reaching 20. However number 9 Duncan Round made 33* off 26 balls and Alveley ended up with a defendable 155-9 from their 40 overs, Nathanael Newitt (2-33 from 6 overs) being the other main wicket taker for Bromyard. In reply Bromyard were 85-2 before Martin Reece-Pitt was caught for 26, and Pete Whittenbury completed an excellent all-round performance with 72 off 76 balls with 11 fours and a six, his first fifty of the season. However no other batsman made double figures and Bromyard collapsed to 134 all out in 38 overs to lose by 21 runs, their third league defeat in a row, William Thomas taking 3-5 from 3.2 overs to polish off the tail and Jacob Carr bagging 3-32 from 6 overs. The 2nds are now 4th in WCL Division 6 and host bottom side Oldswinford & Stourbridge Social 2nds on Saturday.
Finally an understrength 3rds travelled to Penlu to take on Tenbury Wells 2nds in their final league game of the season. Bromyard batted first after winning the toss on another wet pitch, and were indebted to the skipper Jordan Tomkins (37) and his Dad Paul, who made 33 opening the batting. Only Paul Tomkins’s fellow opener Steve Corbett (11) of the other batsmen made double figures, last man Adam Bayliss making a first-baller in his first appearance for BCC since roughly 1995, as Johnathan Duce (3-28 from 8 overs), Ellis Wear (2-12 from 8 overs) and Edward Corfield (2-12 from 3.2 overs) bowled well for the home side. In reply Corfield continued his good game with 38, Ellis Yates made 25 and Jay Griffiths 24* as Tenbury reached 118-6 off 25.2 overs for a 4 wicket win, despite 2-13 from 2.2 overs for 12-year-old Oli Bouston and 2-15 from 4 overs for 14-year-old Zain Zahid. The 3rds, who finished as Division 9 South Champions, have a near full strength side for this Saturday’s vital Division 9 playoff game, away at Division 9 West Champions Stourport 4ths, to decide which side goes up to Division 8 for next season.
Finally the Sunday XI’s home game against Brockhampton was rained off, and they’ll hope for better luck this weekend when they are due to host Dymock.
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