Long Itchington 1XL 200-9 lost to Alcester & Ragley 1st XL 201-6 by 4 wickets
Long Itchington were put in to bat and an excellent start by the Ragley new ball pairing of Richard Layton and Tim Jackson pinned Long Itchington down to 28 runs from the first 14 overs. However no wickets were claimed until Oli Swinburn trapped Roger Eadon with his 2nd delivery for 5. Jackson then got the just reward for his early efforts as fellow opener Jack holed out to mid-off for 20 and then James Clarke followed bowled round his legs by one that seamed a long way to leave Long Itchington on 40-3 from 20 overs. Jackson bowled his 10 overs straight through and finished with excellent figures of 2-18. Swinburn and Adam Warbrick kept the pressure on new batsmen Tom Perks and Tom Crosthwaite and Crosthwaite was next to go bowled Swinburn for 3 and number 6 Insall followed next over caught by Dave Pilkington off the bowling of Warbrick for 0. The score was 60-5 from 24 overs at this stage. Perks and Mishra launched a counter attack at this stage and added 50 runs in good time before Mishra was caught and bowled by Warbrick for 25. Pete McKenna joined the fray and made hay as he hit 4 sixes in the next couple of overs leading to a change in the bowling. Layton (1-23) was bought back and the extra pace accounted for McKenna cleaned bowled for a brief but entertaining 32 runs. This added some much needed momentum into the innings and with Perks at the other end having bought up his 50 he put trust into his later order partners of which Andy Smith and Andy Wood made useful contributions before both being out from the bowling of captain Steve Capron (2-47) for 20 and 15 respectively. Long Itchington reached what seemed an improbable total at half way of 200-9 with Perks not out at the end with a very well made 70. Other successful bowlers were Warbrick 2-50 and Swinburn 2-53.
In reply openers Ben Lee and Pilkington, who had injured his knee quite badly whilst fielding, got Ragley off to a fantastic start, the 50 coming up in the 7th over with a huge six by Pilkington off the bowling of Wood. Pilkington reached 37 from just 25 balls before he was caught behind by Clarke from the bowling of Wood to end a fine opening partnership of 69 in only the 9th over. Lee carried on the momentum and bought up his 50 from 51 balls including 3 sixes in the 16th over. In partnership with Max Biltcliffe the score reached 110 before Biltcliffe was caught and bowled for 18 by Jack and was closely followed by Lee for 56 lbw to Chapman. This put the jitters into the Ragley camp in a game they had to win to stay in touch in the Premier league, and nerves were not helped when Ben Shuttleworth was stumped for 8, score was now 130-4 in the 25th over. Warbrick and Layton then added a very useful 40 runs before Warbrick was adjudged lbw for 13. With 31 runs to get in 9 overs and 5 wickets it seemed a formality that Ragley would get home, however this is a team that has won only once all season. Dave Swinburn was bowled by Smith for 6 and Tom Wright joined Layton to try and see his side home. Lots of dot balls followed by the odd 6 and 4 by Layton kept the scoreboard ticking over and with 2 overs left Ragley required 6 runs to win. Layton settled the nerves by hitting the 4th ball of the over for 4 to bring up his half century and then tucked the next ball away for a scampered 2 to win the game. Ragley travel to the team immediately above them in the league Catherine De Barnes on Saturday hoping for a similar result.