It's the 60-year age gap at Royston

A YOUTHFUL Royston seconds were guided by a few old heads on Saturday, with the age gap between the youngest and oldest player spanning 60 years. The Crows fielded 13-year-olds Bonham Harper and Kieran Willis-Wright in a line-up that also included 73-yea

A YOUTHFUL Royston seconds were guided by a few old heads on Saturday, with the age gap between the youngest and oldest player spanning 60 years.

The Crows fielded 13-year-olds Bonham Harper and Kieran Willis-Wright in a line-up that also included 73-year-old and club life member Fred Bendall against Division 4C rivals Saffron Walden fourths.

Skipper Dave Isherwood said: "It was unusual to have such a large age gap in the team, and it shows that we have young players already capable of the challenge of senior cricket.

"And in Fred we have someone who has kept himself fitter than a lot of our younger players."

Royston eventually went down to a seven-wicket defeat, but the young players did well against a more experienced home side.

Rory Harper got Royston off to a solid start with a dogged 38, and father, Jon who started to step up the run rate with a quick-fire 17.

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This set the platform for Joe Carver (57 not out) and Safwan Akram (32) to add 75 runs in the last 10 overs, with the visitors finishing on a competitive 168 for 6.

In reply Royston had two early successes, with Bonham Harper taking a good catch at backward point while Carver and Rory Harper combined to take a second.

But Brain (90) and Borram (46 not out) took the game away from The Crows, though 14-year-old opening bowler Toby Fynn picked up the wicket of Brain near the end and Willis-Wright got in his first over in adult cricket.

Fred Bendall said: "It was the first time I have played in over three years, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would have liked to have had a bit of a bat, to see if I still had the old swing, but I was happy just passing on my experience in the field.

"It was great to play alongside the youngsters, they're a very talented bunch.

"And I didn't feel out of place which was also very pleasing. Hopefully I can get out there again at some point."

ANOTHER fine display with the ball saw Royston claim their second consecutive win and maintain their chase for Division 2 promotion.

In an entertaining Cambs Senior League fixture The Crows eventually saw off the threat of bottom placed Over with a 10-run win and completed a memorable turn around, which player coach Richard Temple described as "outstanding".

He said: "We seem to be able to win games from any position at the moment ,having bowled out Cottenham for 45 last week and defending only 105.

It was an outstanding victory, and that's two weeks on the trot that we have successfully defended low totals. We're certainly making life difficult for ourselves.

"The batting was a bit shaky, and it was disappointing that we collapsed so quickly having looked to have posted a score of around 180.

"However, the bowling is improving each week and when we're at full strength I don't think I've seen a better bowling attack in this league."

The hosts lost star batsmen Paul Miller in the fifth over. However, with Mick Miller joining opener Matt Graham, Royston made a steady start by putting 40 on the board.

However, when Mick Miller (15) had his stumps rattled in the 14th over, Royston's early momentum was stifled, and a loss of further wickets looked dangerously on the cards.

Graham soon followed, having chalked up an important 37, before Temple cracked a straight drive for four, but was then involved in a clumsy mix up that left Martyn Leek run out for 20.

At the 25th over mark, The Crows did breach the 100 run mark, courtesy of Ashley Judge's attractive flair, but it was not long before another wicket fell, with Temple out to a controversial lbw.

Judge battered several to the boundary in reaching 24, but he was caught after mistiming a short delivery from Smith. David Sladen added eight more, before he too was trapped lbw, while Ben Warren's valuable eight late on ended Royston's innings on a momentary high.

However, Royston were all out for a disappointing 135.

With it all seemingly to do, Royston made a tight start to their bowling attack, with Over needing only three runs per over to secure a much-needed victory.

Temple and Chris Hootton plugged away, and kept the visitor's score to a minimum. However, it was a change in bowling that brought about the first wicket as Parkin was caught behind by Miller from Ben Warren's testing delivery.

Over then suffered a collapse of disastrous proportions as Royston's bowling and fielding tightened The Crows' grip, with Warren taking his second wicket before Matt Gillham and Miller combined for the wicket of Cook.

Over's Smith offered a brief moment of threat before Gillham bowled him for 15, with Paul Harris sending Buck packing with one impressive swinging, seaming delivery.

Temple then took his first wicket in his second spell, before taking a second moments later. The visitors needed 40 runs from the final 10 overs, and when two edges slipped through the slips it looked like the visitors may sneak it.

However, Temple had other ideas and duly claimed his third wicket, before Hootton bowled Benson to pile on the pressure. With 11 needed from their last six balls, Harris spared Royston's nerves by bowling Borley with his first delivery and sealing a dramatic victory and another 20 points.

Temple said: "Once we got a few wickets we could tell they were in trouble and we just kept the pressure up. The win also gives us a lot of confidence going into Saturday's game with Ely. However, I'm sure they will be out for revenge after we bowled them all out for 21 earlier on in the season.

"It's just a pity that the other teams around us are also picking up points, because with six games to go we've probably got to win at least five of them. We just have to hope that results go our way.