Defeats for 1sts and 2nds, but 3rds claim WCL Division 9 South Title with another win

today24 July 2021 31

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Congratulations to the 3rds who claimed the WCL Division 9 South title at Colwall

Bromyard 1st XI went down to a nailbiting 2 wicket defeat at home to East Herefordshire rivals Colwall, after a see-sawing game on a sweltering afternoon at Flaggoners Green. On a fresh pitch and with the temperature hovering around the 30 celsius mark, Bromyard skipper Greg Leighton won the toss and chose to bat first. The visitors struck a vital early blow though when veteran Kiwi swing bowler Andy Robertson, having recently been called up for England Over 50s, nipped a ball back off the seam and had Ian Bullock lbw for 4 to leave Bromyard 13 for 1 in the third over. Soon after arriving at the crease Edd Oliver enjoyed a moment of good fortune when he was put down behind the wicket off Robertson’s bowling before he had scored, and Oliver and Nick Leighton moved the score on to 52-1 after 10 overs, Leighton taking advantage of a free hit to slice a drive over the short third man boundary for 6, and Oliver picking up a couple of boundaries through point and down the ground.

After an opening over which cost him 16 runs, first change bowler Sam Witham made the second breakthrough when he breached Nick Leighton’s defences with a nippy away-swinger, bowling him for 20 to make the score 54-2 in the 12th over, but Rob Willis was immediately into his stride with boundaries from the first and second legitimate deliveries that he faced. The introduction of Dan Newby’s slow-medium inswing from the Pavilion End brought about Willis’s downfall however, as he got a leading edge to an attempted legside flick and was caught at cover for 13, and when two overs later Newby had George Bouston caught behind for 1, and then bowled Alex Parker for a duck five balls later, Bromyard were suddenly 73-5 after 17 overs. Edd Oliver and Greg Leighton sought to calm things down and repair the damage, and by the 30 over mark the score was 121-5, with the match back on a more even keel.

Having occupied the crease for the best part of two hours exhaustion got the better part of Oliver as he was bowled by a yorker from occasional medium-pacer Ben Cooke, for 48 off 109 balls with 8 fours, to make it 151-6 in the 38th over, but Ed Smith immediately put bat to ball, striking Cooke for a big six into the QE school. With two overs of Colwall 3rd XI Captain Sam Bradley’s medium pace disappearing for 22, as Smith struck him for a big six over midwicket, Bromyard were gaining crucial late innings momentum, which was briefly halted by the return of Andy Robertson, as he bowled Greg Leighton for 41 off 70 balls with 4 fours, with the first ball of the 45th over to make it 199-7.

Five balls later Robertson bowled John Parker for 4, but Ed Smith took 19 off Ben Cooke’s penultimate over including 2 huge sixes over long-on and extra cover. Just when Bromyard were looking like getting close to 250 Cooke had Dave Taylor caught at long-on for 3, then ran debutant Will Tanton out without facing as Smith looked to keep the strike off the final ball of the 48th over, as Bromyard were all out for 231 and Ed Smith was left 48 not out off just 32 balls, with 2 fours and 4 sixes. For Colwall Dan Newby was the pick of the bowlers and claimed 3-17 from 10 overs, Andy Robertson also bowled well to take 3-33 from 9 overs, and Ben Cooke took 2-63 from 10 overs.

In reply Rob Willis and George Bouston took the new ball for Bromyard, and South African William Pieterse (8) was caught behind off Rob Willis attempting to drive, making the score 18-1 in the third over. A brilliant catch by Ian Bullock, standing up to George Bouston, saw the back of Fergus Cameron (4) in the next over, but left-hander Andy Robertson and Malvern College’s Olly Cox looked relatively at ease on what was still a good pitch, taking the score to 60-2 after 15 overs. It took the introduction of Will Tanton’s seamers, on his Bromyard debut after recently joining from Brockhampton, to strike an important blow when Andy Robertson (35) flashed outside off stump and was well caught by Greg Leighton at slip, making the score 78-3 in the 20th over.

With Colwall’s key batsman Ben Cooke now at the crease Greg Leighton finally brought himself into the attack for the 21st over, but Cooke and Olly Cox advanced the score to 109-3 at the 25 over mark with some solid strokes. It took Dave Taylor’s off-spin, operating as ever from the School End, to make the next breakthrough as Cox holed out to Ed Smith at long-on having belted the previous ball over his head for 6, to return to the pavilion having made 48 off 75 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes. Cooke hit Taylor for three successive fours in his next over, but the off-spinner claimed a second wicket when 17-year-old Marc Koliasnikoff (1) was well caught and bowled, Taylor clutching the ball with an outstretched right mitt to make the score 132-5 in the 30th over.

Cooke and hard-hitting left-hander Sam Witham enjoyed a couple of slices of good fortune, with Cooke being dropped behind the wicket, and had advanced the score to 166-5 after 38 overs before Greg Leighton returned to the attack and bowled Cooke for 31 with his first ball back, sparking jubilant scenes amongst Bromyard’s players and supporters. However the game was still far from over and 17-year-old Bruno Recordon immediately offered good support to Sam Witham. Colwall had moved on to 192-6 after 43 overs when Ian Bullock, having taken his pads and gloves off and been replaced behind the stumps by Rob Willis, came into the attack and bowled Witham for 31, but Colwall’s skipper James Wagstaff was the next man in and hit the ball typically hard, making 18 off just 12 balls before lobbing a catch off Ian Bullock to short midwicket, where John Parker took a high pressure catch over his head to leave Colwall 222-8 halfway through the 48th over.

With Colwall requiring 10 runs, Bromyard 2 wickets, and with just 15 balls remaining the tension continued to mount, and number 10 Dan Newby was fortunate to survive after lofting an Ian Bullock delivery out towards the cover boundary, only for the ball to land in space. With 8 needed off 2 overs Colwall snuck a couple of singles before Newby drove Greg Leighton through the off side for four, and with just 2 runs required Newby drove a tiring Leighton, having bowled for 10 overs and earlier batted for the best part of 2 hours, over long off and into the pavilion scorebox for 6, leaving Colwall victorious by 2 wickets, Dan Newby 11 not and Bruno Recordon 29 not out. For Bromyard Ian Bullock claimed 2-19 from 3 overs, Dave Taylor 2-38 from 9 overs, and Rob Willis an economical 1-33 from 10 overs.

Bromyard remain 5th in the WCL Premier Division and make the long journey to old rivals Redditch, who are currently in 9th place, on Saturday.

The 2nds meanwhile made the long trip to South Staffordshire to take on Enville 2nds, but came away with a 4 wicket defeat. Batting first after being stuck in Bromyard were all out for a slightly under par 208 in 45 overs, Harvey Ree top-scoring with 47 off 56 balls with 5 fours and a six before being run out, and Jack Barrett also returning to form with 36. In reply Enville were given a solid start by Jono Howells (33) and their skipper Joe Bromfield (30), and with Brendan Smith making an unbeaten 40 from 56 balls with 5 fours, Enville reached 209-6 after 44.2 overs to win with 4 balls to spare, despite a 2nd XI career-best 3-34 from 7 overs for Zac Bernard-Pullen. However with Hagley 2nds also losing, Bromyard remain top of a still very tight WCL Division 6 by just 2 points, and they host 5th-placed Pedmore at Flaggoners Green on Saturday.

The 2nds are also in action on Sunday when they will travel to King’s, Worcester’s New Road ground to take on Old Vigornians and Rushwick in the second 100 ball ‘Sunday Slam Trophy’ day.

The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the 3rds’ win away at Ghost Meadow against Colwall 4ths, which guaranteed them the WCL Division 9 South title. Congratulations to the skipper Jordan Tomkins, vice-captain Dean Corbett and the rest of the squad for a brilliant season so far, which has seen the 3rds win 7 league games out of 11, with just 1 defeat, 1 game conceded to them and 2 games rained off. Last Saturday Colwall won the toss and chose to bat, but were restricted to 157-6 from their 40 overs, former Eastnor and Barnards Green batsman Adam Greaves scoring 64 with 5 fours, Mark Pedder scoring 28 and Manraj Ahluwalia 23*. 14-year-old Zain Zahid was the main wicket taker for Bromyard with 3-14 from 4 overs, his best figures so far for the 3rds. In reply 3rds’ run machine Matt Long scored 58 with 7 fours and a six, his second successive fifty, his fellow opener Steve Corbett made 25, a new career best, Jamie Rawle scored 24, Dean Corbett 19* and Jordan Tomkins 4*, the captain and vice captain appropriately being at the crease when the title was clinched. The 3rds now have a vital playoff game against the champions of WCL Division 9 West on 7th August, at a venue that is TBC. The winners of that will then be promoted to Division 8 for 2022. In the meantime the 3rds have a week off this week before playing their last league game on 31st July, at home at the QE vs Tenbury Wells 2nds.

The Sunday team travelled with just 9 men to take on Sapey in a local derby on another hot afternoon, but made a good fist of the T20 game before losing by 31 runs. Sapey batted first after winning the toss and were all out for 134 in 17.5 overs, Alex Taylor scoring 34, while Jamie Rawle took 3-15 from 3 overs for Bromyard and Andrew Newitt claimed 2-5 from 2.5 overs, having returned home to find his missing left boot. In reply Martin Reece-Pitt made 54 from 65 balls with 6 fours and a six, but only Jack Barrett (11) of the other batsmen made double figures, Bromyard finishing their 20 overs on 103-6. The Sunday team are next back in action on 1st August at home to Brockhampton.

The Evening League team won their Worcester Evening League Dowdeswell Cup final on Tuesday night, at Rushwick CC against Old Vigornians. Batting first after winning the toss Bromyard made a formidable 146-5 from their 12 8 balls overs, Dean Corbett playing a man-of-the-match winning innings of 50 retired off just 31 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes, Ed Smith also chipping in with 34 off just 18 balls, Edd Oliver scoring 21 and Jack Barrett 16. In reply Dave Taylor took 3-13 from his 3 overs to leave OVs in deep trouble at 17-3, and they never looked like challenging after that, batting out their overs to finish on 90-9 and lose by 56 runs, with no batsman reaching 15. Will Bolton snuck in for the last over and claimed 2-5 from 1 over with some tidy off-spin. Congratulations to the Evening League team and their skipper Will Yarnold for their third trophy in the last two seasons in which the Evening League has been played.

Finally next Monday will see Surrey Optimists travel to Flaggoners Green for the first time since 2010, for a 40 overs per side match beginning at 2.00. All spectators and supporters will be very welcome for what should be a good game.

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