Royston go joint top with rivals Thriplow

ASHLEY Judge produced a match-winning batting performance as Royston beat Thriplow on Saturday.

ASHLEY Judge produced a match-winning batting performance as Royston beat Thriplow on Saturday.

With the Thriplow first team not having a fixture, they were able to field a strong side. But, Royston also had a nearly full squad to pick from for this vital match and, as a result, the teams were very evenly matched.

On a green wicket, after the morning’s showers, Royston captain Paul Harris won the toss and had little hesitation in bowling. With the new ball in their hands Royston’s opening bowlers tore into the Thriplow top order. Richard Temple (10-4-14-4) and Chris Hooton (10-1-34-2) both produced a number of good deliveries and Thriplow were soon reeling at 11-2. Judge produced a stunning catch at second slip from Temple and Chris Hooton bowled Andy Morris with a seaming delivery as Royston then reduced Thriplow to 29-4. With Royston on top, Paul Staley (49) and Ollie Richer (25) begun to rebuild Thriplow’s innings.

Royston, however, were excellent in the field all afternoon and still kept the run-rate low. John Harper was introduced into the attack and soon made an impact as he made the vital breakthrough removing Staley one short of his 50 as Ashley Judge took another good low catch before the same two then combined to take the wicket of Tuck.

With most of Thriplow’s batsmen back in the pavilion, Richer tried to take the attack to the Royston bowlers, however the impressive Temple returned to the attack and soon bowled him. Thriplow were finally dismissed in the last over for 142, with skipper Harris collecting the last wicket.

Royston knew that, despite the small total on a quick outfield, it wouldn’t be easy to chase, considering the strong bowling attack of Thriplow.

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It was soon apparent that this was the case as Martin and Paul Leary both departed within two balls of each other with Andy Morris claiming both wickets. Morris soon removed Bonham Harper and Temple as he ripped through the Royston top order.

When Paul Miller departed for 16 to Richard Turner, Royston looked in disarray at 57-5. However ,Ashley Judge (48*) and Paul Harris (25) demonstrated great patience to see off Morris and allow Royston to regroup at the drinks interval.

The two batsmen then started to play more positively with Harris hitting two 6s while Judge sent a number of deliveries crashing to the boundary as Thriplow’s early enthusiasm was diminishing.

The two saw Royston past the 100 mark until Harris eventually departed after a fine catch from Richer off of Care’s bowling.

Judge and Rory Harper (14 *) managed to keep calm and propelled Royston over the finish line with three overs to spare, with Judge just falling short of a deserved half century.

Royston and Thriplow now have a share of the league leadership, having identical records so far this season.

Royston’s next game is another crucial match against third placed Comberton, at Therfield on Saturday.