CROPLEY DRAGS BELTON TO VICTORY
With the visit of 10-man Rollesby marking the start of the second half of the season, Belton had to thank mainly the experienced Chris Cropley for seeing them over the line in the run chase.
On a blistering hot afternoon at Southtown Common, Rollesby skipper Duxbury won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat first.
It became clear that the conditions weren’t responsive for the pace bowlers, with Langford in particular taking a liking to both Ali and Nichols in the early exchanges – including launching his first ball for four over mid-off.
Savoury’s introduction halted the flow of runs with consecutive maidens either side of a wicket-maiden from Nichols that brought the eventual breakthrough – Langford beaten by late inswing to take off-stump to depart for a quickfire 20.
Savoury backed up his two maidens with a wicket in his third over when Youngs was the unfortunate recipient of a short-ball that kept low to be bowled for just 3.
Belton picked up their third wicket with the final ball before the first designated drinks break when Savoury drifted down the leg-side and Duxbury falling from his crease was stumped by some tidy work from brother Adam to send the visiting skipper on his way for 17 – Rollesby 48-3 from 15 overs.
Brooks hit Rehman for three boundaries before he became Savoury’s third victim in his first over after drinks when he was clean bowled for 13 – Savoury with impressive figures of 3-4 from six overs.
L. Roffey hit Savoury for three consecutive boundaries before he was bowled by Comer’s fourth delivery which nipped back off the seam to take middle stump for 13 – leaving E.Roffey to plunder runs with the lower order.
Algar came and went quickly when he was also bowled attempting to cut Comer on off-stump for three leaving Rollesby 90-6.
Roffey took Comer for eight in an over to take the visitors up past the hundred mark but could only watch on as Cook was bowled for nought attempting an ambitious scoop to fine-leg.
Sparkes provided some late impetus with a trio of boundaries before he could only find the hands of Nichols at mid-off before young Langford looped a simple return catch to the bowler to give Hodds his second and third wickets – Rollesby dismissed for 125, with Roffey unbeaten on 39.
With only 126 runs to get, many would have thought that Belton would coast to victory but Rollesby, and in particular Algar, had other ideas.
Goreham’s fine run of form was ended in unfortunate circumstances from the final ball of the opening over when he plumb lbw to an Algar delivery that kept low to depart without scoring.
Rehman didn’t take long to get into his stride – smashing 25 runs from consecutive Sparkes overs to bring the required target down to under a hundred. Belton then lost three wickets for just six runs.
Rehman’s breezy innings was ended when he could only help a bouncer from Algar into the hands of Roffey at cover for 24. Savoury fell in Algar’s next over when he get the faintest of tickles down the leg-side to ‘keeper Youngs for just seven. Nichols didn’t last long either when he was cleaned up by Brooks without scoring to leave the hosts teetering on 37-4.
With Cropley joined by George Savoury at the crease, Belton were in desperate need of a substantial partnership – and Cropley was given a life when he was put down at slip by Duxbury with five to his name before picking up boundaries of Brooks in consecutive overs with Savoury hitting back-to-back boundaries off Duxbury’s second over – Belton taking the 15 over drinks halfway towards their target at 63-4.
With Algar returning for short spells, Belton were content to see his overs out but with the partnership nearing fifty Algar did get the breakthrough when Savoury could only glove to ‘keeper Youngs to depart for 18.
Rollesby sensed an opportunity, even more so when Brooks had Belton ‘skipper Ali adjudged leg-before attempting a sweep without scoring to leave the hosts 89-6.
Cropley passed his half-century with a single through square-leg whilst Warner stuck around admirably to take Belton up passed the hundred mark before he became Algar’s fifth victim when he went back and was pinned in front of his stumps for seven.
Cropley and Toll managed to see off the spell of Algar, who finished with impressive figures of 5-18, with Toll flicking four through fine-leg during the seamers final over.
Cropley then smashed consecutive boundaries and a single off Sparkes to bring the scores level before pulling Duxbury to the fence to finish unbeaten on 68, giving Belton a much needed victory by three wickets.
|M.Duxbury||st A.Savoury||b G.Savoury||17|
|R.Sparkes||ct Nichols||b Hodds||12|
|S.Langford||ct &||b Hodds||0|
|TOTAL||All Out||after 35.1 overs||125|
Fall of Wickets: 1-34 (J.Langford), 2-37 (Youngs), 3-48 (Duxbury), 4-53 (Brooks), 5-78 (L.Roffey), 6-90 (Algar), 7-97 (Cook), 8-121 (Sparkes), 9-125 (S.Langford)
|A.Savoury||ct Youngs||b Algar||7|
|A.Rehman||ct L.Roffey||b Algar||24|
|G.Savoury||ct Youngs||b Algar||18|
|TOTAL||For 7 wickets||after 36.2 overs||129|
Fall of Wickets: 1-1 (Goreham), 2-31 (Rehman), 3-36 (A.Savoury), 4-37 (Nichols), 5-82 (G.Savoury), 6-89 (Ali), 7-104 (Warner)