Narrow defeat a blow for Ashwell

ASHWELL S push for promotion from Cambridgeshire Division 2SA suffered a setback on Saturday with a narrow defeat to NCI. Opting to bat first, NCI got off to a steady start against a probing opening spell from Ashwell s new ball bowlers. Martin Talks bowl

ASHWELL'S push for promotion from Cambridgeshire Division 2SA suffered a setback on Saturday with a narrow defeat to NCI.

Opting to bat first, NCI got off to a steady start against a probing opening spell from Ashwell's new ball bowlers. Martin Talks bowled particularly well from the unfamiliar Pavilion End, going straight through his allocation of 10 overs and finishing with the excellent figures of 2-25.

Matt Skelding (2-28 from eight overs) provided good support, but the other bowling wilted a little in the heat. NCI, having reached 100-4 after 28 overs, scored at nearly 10 runs an over for the last 12 overs to close at 216-7.

Ashwell's response began steadily, with Martyn Deal (31) and Jonathan Merrell (56) putting together a stand of 75 for the first wicket.

Matt Skelding played a superb role at number three, upping the scoring rate with a quickly made 44 before being unluckily dismissed.

As wickets began to fall, Tim Moynihan was left to usher the middle order and tail towards the target of 217.

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The reintroduction of NCI's most threatening bowler however, made the task very difficult and from needing 11 runs to win from the final three overs, Ashwell fell eight runs short - all out for 208 - Moynihan eventually falling for 41.

A young Aspenden Standon & Puckeridge side produced a great fight-back to beat Aythorpe Roding and continue their promotion push.

ASP fielded first and took wickets regularly, with Pankhurst taking 3-29. Farr top scored for Roding with 31. Michael Strange's great form continued as he took 5-15 in nine overs to rip the middle and lower order to shreds.

Albon and Mark Potter finished things off as Aythorpe made 115 in 38 overs.

After tea ASP set off to chase the small target down. Strange, Wissen and Devonshire fell cheaply and lefts Asps nervous at 30-3. Booth went for 31 to leave Asps in a hole at 50-4 and looking at a defeat.

In came Potter and he started finding gaps and was batting nicely with skipper Yates until he was giving out lbw for 11 and Asps were in real trouble.

Potter had to take responsibility and bat with the tail. Roding could smell the win as Aspenden had a long tail with all the youngsters still to come in.

But Potter rose to the occasion and, despite the loss of Pearman, he and Si Lindsay started finding boundaries and bringing the runs down.

Potter's 51 not out came off 40 balls as he and Lindsay (8 not out) saw ASP home with 21 overs to spare.

Steeple Morden recorded their third win in as many weeks with a 79-run victory over Harlton at the Recreation ground.

After last week's heroics John Anderson was out without scoring in the first over. Steve Bailey steadied the ship putting on 42 for the second wicket before Paul Jarman fell lbw to Child for 19.

Bailey and young Max Carlton (19) advanced the score to 120 before rain forced a stoppage in play. When they returned after a 30-minute delay they managed just five more runs before Carlton was bowled, bringing Duncan Warner to the crease. Warner (21) stood firm while Bailey took his total past 50.

With the score on 195 Bailey, looking to edge his side past 200, was bowled by Child just two runs short of his century.

Harlton looked comfortable at 87 for two with just 13 overs completed seeing off the opening bowling attack of Jack Tidey (0-36) and Darren Jarman (2-24).

The introduction of Martin Osbourne (3-24) and Paul Jarman turned the tide back in favour of the home side. A devastating piece of bowling from Jarman and some superb wicket keeping from skipper Tim Tidey with four stumpings saw five wickets fall for just 10 runs in the space of four overs.

Jarman returned figures of 5-21 concluding the Harlton innings on 119.

Barley got their season back on track with a resounding victory against Comberton last Saturday.

Following the early morning downpour Barley skipper Chris Allan chose to insert Comberton on a still sticky but drying track. Comberton openers Samways and Arkright found it very slow going against accurate pitched up bowling from Peter Chuck (2-13) and Brian Symes (1-4r).

Busby took a brilliant running hollywood catch to dismiss Samways and Allan snapped up Gordon, both off Chuck.

Going at three an over Comberton looked like achieving only a low total and had not Wick and McFall had a dart at Bruce Carnaby and Michael Ross they would surely have got a lot less than their eventual 162-6.

In reply Allan and Philip George started briskly. Allan (22) looked dangerous but following five quick-fire boundaries was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Wick off the erratic Patel.

D Busby (24) and Carnaby (9) also looked in control until both were caught out playing loose shots.

Barley were having a wobble so it was down to Symes and Adam Pattison to steady the ship.

Symes played himself in for once, then set about the attack with some glorious pull shots and cut drives.

Barley debutant Andrew Spreadbury (10 not out) then approached the crease for the first time in 15 years. A couple of classic fours from him and a final four from Symes left him on 56 not out and Barley deserved winners in just the 28th over.

Great Chishill eased to a nine wicket victory over Royston II on Saturday. Richard Brunt and Olly Stoop put on 54 for the first wicket as the hosts were set a target of only 76. Paul Hunter and Kirk Chilton did the damage for Chishill, sharing seven wickets, with only Dave Isherwood offering resistance.

The win increased Chishill's lead at the top of Division 2SA of the Cambridgeshire Cricket Association Junior League as the clash between second-placed Ashwell and third-placed NCI II resulted in a win for NCI.

Chishill will do well to hold to the one available promotion spot to Division One however as they face a difficult run of matches through August, the only saving grace being that three of their remaining four games are at home.