Ashwell on the brink of success
A WIN at Barley on Saturday will see Ashwell go up from Cambs Division 1B – for what would be their second successive promotion. Returning to winning ways, Ashwell moved up to second following Thurlow s six-wicket defeat against Bar Hill. They also had T
A WIN at Barley on Saturday will see Ashwell go up from Cambs Division 1B - for what would be their second successive promotion.
Returning to winning ways, Ashwell moved up to second following Thurlow's six-wicket defeat against Bar Hill. They also had Tom Wallace and Russell Kemp's 97-run partnership to thank before a fine bowling and fielding performance restricted Whittlesford to 80 all out.
However, the hosts got off to a disappointing start and soon in trouble as Newman dismissed both Young and Merrell cheaply, with Ashwell on 17 for 2.
Steve Parkhouse remained though, and found an able ally in Wallace as the pair added 44 largely untroubled runs before Parkhouse was needlessly run out after some mid-wicket confusion for 34.
Wallace was finding his elegant best, and he and Kemp took the attack to the Whittlesford bowlers, with Wallace going past his 50 before Kemp became a second run out victim having made a vital 48.
At 158 for 4 after 33 overs, there was hope that Ashwell would push on and make a total in the region of 220, but the struggles of the latter order batsmen put into context what a good stand it had been between Wallace and Kemp.
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The innings slid to 171 all out at the start of the 40th and final over in the face of some accurate bowling from Carter (3 for 34) and Paige (2-31).
Whittlesford danger man Baker had made a century when the teams met earlier in the season, but after Kemp had accounted for him with a well taken caught and bowl the game began to move decisively in Ashwell's favour.
Both Kemp (3 for 25) and Martin Talks (1 for 12) found some quite extravagant movement off the wicket and frequently beat the bat. Hathaway (16) was providing the most resistance as half the batsmen had fallen before the score reached 50.
Matt Skelding replaced Kemp and bowled an excellent spell of 3-5 from six overs, and young Rufus Talks (1-8) took the final wicket, his first for the senior side, as Whittlesford were all out for 80 and Ashwell winners by 91 runs.
Ashwell captain Jonathan Merrell said: "We played well on Saturday. Batting wasn't easy so Tom and Russ's stand was a real match winning partnership.
"After last season's promotion this has proved to be a very competitive division where the top two positions have been changing almost every week. But we're now in a great position.
"If we do achieve a second consecutive promotion, I am confident that the team can take another step forward. Performances have come from all around the side and we haven't been overly reliant on one or two individuals.
"Having said that we've won some really close games this year, with two last ball wins over Cokenach springing to mind.
"Had we lost those, we could well be sat somewhere in the mid-table rather than potentially looking at the top.
"We're not going to approach the Barley game any differently, and I think part of our relative success has been down to an attitude of doing our best and not being nervous about performances and results.
"We've said all along that this year, we're just pleased to be playing at this level and in close contests week in and week out - and that was needed.
"If results do go our way on Saturday however, I'm expecting an expensive night at the bar - but whether we're in the Senior League or not next year we'll just be looking forward to another enjoyable season.