Merrell upbeat after first Ashwell defeat

PUBLISHED: 16:42 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

ASHWELL S 100 per cent start to the season was brought to an abrupt end on Saturday when they suffered an eight-wicket home defeat against second-placed USSC. The accuracy of the USSC attack soon had Ashwell on the back foot with chances fairly limited.

ASHWELL'S 100 per cent start to the season was brought to an abrupt end on Saturday when they suffered an eight-wicket home defeat against second-placed USSC.

The accuracy of the USSC attack soon had Ashwell on the back foot with chances fairly limited.

Both Martyn Deal and Pete Davis struggled, with the spin of USSC captain Wiehahn (2 for 21), who made life difficult with his unpredictable turn.

After both openers had been dismissed, Gary Simmons began to play some shots, and hit the first boundary of the game in the 16th over.

At the 20-over half-way point Ashwell were just 30 for 2.

Simmons (36) held the middle part of the innings together as two more wickets fell at the other end, and at 50 for 4 after 26 overs, he and skipper Jonathan Merrell were given licence to attack.

However at 68 for 5, Simmons fell.

But Merrell hit an unbeaten 58, sharing an undefeated stand of 40 for the eighth wicket with Edward Strickland, as Ashwell reached 137 for 7.

The Ashwell score was perhaps 30 runs short of a challenging target, although Martin Talks (2 for 28) got his side off to a bright start, bowling USSC opener Savage.

Then Wadrup was brilliantly caught by Graeme Hodson, to leave the visitors on 22 for 2.

However, despite riding his luck, remaining opener Cronin (81 not out) was soon mounting an impressive attack, as the Ashwell fielders began to sense it was not to be their day.

Cronin and Wiehahn (52 not out) played sensibly, and saw USSC comfortably home at 138 for 2 with nine overs to spare.

Despite the defeat, Ashwell remain top of the Cambridgeshire Junior Division 1B.

Skipper Jonathan Merrell said: "It was always going to be an uphill struggle to win after the way we batted, and dropped a number of catches - of which any one could have turned the game in our favour.

"On the positive side, most of our batsmen have now chalked up league runs, and Martin Talks is bowling very well for us.

"The division is very tight, so although it's nice to be top at this stage it's obviously very early and I expect it to be pretty nip and tuck throughout the season.

"Hopefully we'll get a few more wins in before the holiday season starts to hit our availability and just push for as high a finish as we can.

"As for this coming weekend, Thurlow are one of the early front running sides, so it will be another good test for us.

"All the teams seem to be capable of beating each other, so I hope it's our turn to come out on top on Saturday.

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