Leaders Ashwell pipped by one run

PUBLISHED: 10:45 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

IT was another close encounter for Ashwell on Saturday, with the Cambs Junior Division 1B leaders edged out by just one run. Having won their fare share of late victories, it was Ashwell s turn to leave empty handed with Whittlesford doing just enough to

IT was another close encounter for Ashwell on Saturday, with the Cambs Junior Division 1B leaders edged out by just one run.

Having won their fare share of late victories, it was Ashwell's turn to leave empty handed with Whittlesford doing just enough to hold on.

Shorn of their regular bowling options, Ashwell won the toss in the hope that a new ball and the opening bowling pairing of Martin Talks and Russell Kemp would register some early damage.

As it turned out though, it was the Whittlesford's batsmen who made the breakthrough with a 50-run partnership setting the tone, before Hathermay was bowled by Kemp (1 for 30) for 10.

And the Ashwell bowlers kept chipping away, although from 83 for 3 after 24 overs, Whittlesford's innings was given impetus when Burdett joined Baker at the crease.

It was only in the closing overs that Baker was dismissed by the returning Martin Talks (3 for 47) for a well-crafted 106.

Talks ran through a couple more host batsmen before Whittlesford's innings closed at 202 for 6 from their allotted 40 overs.

The visitors' response began positively, but as in recent weeks, the Ashwell batsmen found it difficult to launch a match -winning score.

Pete Davis (16), Martin Talks (25) and Jonathan Merrell (23) all came and went, with the responsibility left to Gary Simmons.

However, the required run rate began to steadily climb, and when the sixth Ashwell wicket fell with the score at 130, a further 73 runs were needed from just 10 overs.

Some big hitting and ambitious running between the wickets kept Ashwell in the hunt, as Kemp (21) and Simmons (62 not out) took the score to 174 before Kemp was dismissed with just over three overs left.

With four runs needed from the last ball of the match, Gary Simmons' efforts ended up being all in vain as the ball was fielded on the boundary and as a result Ashwell were left two run short of their target.

Ashwell captain Jonathan Merrell said: "It was an entertaining game and we probably allowed them a few more runs than we would have liked. Although with the bowlers we had missing we were reasonably happy not to have been left chasing more than 200.

"Gary Simmons played a great innings and held things together for us, but scoring 50 from the last five overs proved just too much.

"Whittlesford took the pace off the ball in the closing overs and put nine fielders on the boundary.

"Most of the games we've won this season have pretty much gone down to the last ball, so perhaps it was our turn to be on the receiving end.

"Really it's just nice to be playing even, competitive cricket week in and week out, although it's obviously much nicer to win than lose.

"The teams in the league seem very well matched and although it's nice to still be top, a defeat next Saturday could see us drop as far down as sixth - so we'll need to be on top form against Barley.

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