Royston remain top after crushing win

ROYSTON’S rich vein of form continued unwaveringly with a crushing win over Ashdon on Saturday.

Defending a first innings total of 206 – Martin Leary leading the way with 67 – skipper Paul Harris’ bowling attack of Leary, Matt Gillham and Phil Hall tore through Ashdon’s batting order, dismissing them for 86 runs.

After the game Harris said: “It was an important win, especially bearing in mind that at one stage it looked likely to be abandoned due to the rain, which would have hurt us as all the teams around us in the table won their respective games.

“As it was, we managed to secure the victory which keeps us right up at the top of the table as we head to Milton next Saturday.”

At Therfield Recreation Ground on Saturday, with the sun shining and another hot day looking likely, Harris elected to bat first.

Openers Mick Miller and Rory Harper got Royston off to a solid start, the latter in particular looking extremely aggressive against the Ashdon bowling attack. With an opening partnership of 27, Harper was dismissed by Bradley Plumb, who went on to bag the wicket of Miller with the score on 47-2.

Martin Leary and Paul Miller carried on in style and took Royston to the drinks break with the score 75-2 in 20 overs. After the interval, some loose bowling and positive strokes saw the run rate rapidly increase.

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Miller was finally undone by a well flighted delivery off the bowling of Harvey for a well-made 39 with the score on 147-3, himself and Leary having piled on a partnership of exactly 100 for the third wicket in just under an hour together.

Paul Leary replaced Miller in the middle as Martin Leary passed his half century, however the clouds had suddenly closed in and the rain came to bring a halt to proceedings.

An early tea was taken in the hope that the rain would subside and the sun would re-emerge, which it did, allowing play to continue. Martin Leary was bowled soon after play restarted for 67 with the score on 183-4, bringing Sam Montague-Fuller to the crease.

A couple of sweetly timed sixes from Leary before his departures, which was swiftly followed by the wicket of Harris, left Jon Harper and Montague-Fuller to face the last over of the innings.

Royston ended on 206-6 in their 40 overs.

Ashdon’s innings got off to a poor start at Gillham cleaned up opener Hill for a duck in the first over, and the wickets then kept falling steadily. Royston were excellent in the field and took all their chances as Gillham (10-4-32-3) bagged himself two more wickets, caught by Paul Leary and Sam Montague-Fuller.

Boundaries were easy to come by though as Royston stuck to a largely attacking field and Ashdon number three batsman Pete Harvey looked dangerous as he bludgeoned his was to 20 before being caught by Paul Miller at gully off the bowling of Martin Leary (5-0-11-3).

With Harvey’s dismissal, Ashdon seemed to crumble, going from 42-3 to 80-7. The introduction of Hall late on saw the Ashdon tail end clinically dealt with as he bowled tightly to end up with impressive figures of (4.5-0-13-4), as Ashdon were bowled out for 86, handing Royston a 120 run victory.