After a thoroughly enjoyable Dinner & Dance on Saturday evening at the Cock Hotel (many thanks to Charlotte Bellew for all her efforts in organising the whole event!) it seems a good time to congratulate all the 2014 award winners.
The award winners are as follows:
Batsman Of The Year – Vicram Sohal
Bowler Of The Year – Alex Strong
Fielder Of The Year – Alex Strong
2nd XI Player Of The Year – Sai Ravikumar
3rd XI Player Of The Year – Ben Arnold
4th XI Player Of The Year - Craig Jolley
Sunday Player Of The Year – Ben Arnold
Most Improved Player Of The Year – Ben Arnold
U17's Batsman Of The Year – Arvind Ramesh
U17's Bowler Of The Year – Deepak Ravikumar
Players Player – Michael Brown
Clubman Of The Year – Steve Osborne
If any of these winners were not at the Dinner to receive their awards please contact Steve Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange collection.
Congratulations again to all the awards winners
Stony Stratford needed a helping hand to finally secure their Premier Division status on Saturday after what has been their most difficult season in the top flight of the Northants Cricket League. Stony were predictably obliterated at newly crowned champions Peterborough, falling to a 148 run defeat after being bowled out for just 64 – the latest in a long line of batting disasters which have almost cost Stony their place in the top division this year. Fortunately for Stony, bottom side Burton Latimer’s brave attempt to close the gap on Stony came to an end after an equally crushing 8 wicket defeat at Old Northamptonians left them facing the prospect of Division One cricket next season.
Whilst Stony’s batting has been the root cause of their woeful summer, they have been saved by their efforts with the ball and most notably those of skipper Alex Strong. His form in the second half of the season has put Stony in several potentially match winning situations, few of which have been converted – but he’s now recognised as one of the league’s premier pace men. His four wickets against Peterborough took his tally for the summer to 34 and had the champs wobbling at 90-6. That they made 212 in the end was again typical of Stony’s summer – as was their capitulation to 64 all out, albeit against one of the best club sides in the country. Stony have struggled for runs all summer, with Hayden Mullins 450 being the best of the bunch. It’s this Achilles heel which needs addressing swiftly over the winter if Stony are going to avoid another battle to stay up next summer.
In the final analysis, Stony have struggled desperately in a league which has dramatically improved over the last two seasons. With some clubs prepared to part with eye watering amounts of money to secure the services of professional and in some cases amateur players, Stony now face a choice to either follow suit or find another way to compete. They’ve also lost some key players to injury and unavailability and with other clubs markedly strengthening, it’s produced a perfect storm which Stony have done well to get out of. For now…
Stony 2nds have had a much better season than their 1st XI counterparts but their campaign ended on a disappointing note with a 30 run defeat by relegated Long Buckby. With little left to play for, Stony fielded a side that could best be described as ‘experimental’. The visitors took full advantage and posted 232 from just under 50 overs. Stony fell short in reply despite 69 from Sai Ravikumar. Stony were in contention to be promoted for much of the season and much of this was off the back of two excellent individual performances – Josh Whitehead’s 28 wickets and skipper Chris Swain’s 422 runs the highlights of a solid season for his side.
Finally, there was last game heartbreak for the 3rd XI who were denied promotion from Division 5 on the last day after falling to a 56 run defeat at Rushton 2nds. With local rivals Wicken winning earlier in the day, Stony needed to win to secure promotion but having restricted the home side to 160, Stony got nowhere near in reply, falling to just 104 all out. Third is still an excellent result for a side that was playing in Division 9 just a few years ago. Stony’s success this year was built around their excellent attack. Veterans Neil Fewtrell and Michael Brown took 91 wickets between them, whilst 16 year old off spinner Ben Arnold showed his immense promise this season with 30 league wickets.
Stony Stratford’s Premier Division survival fight is going down to the wire after a last gasp draw at home to Northampton Saints. Stony managed to hang on bravely at the death after earlier looking like they might grab the vital win that would have secured their survival. Meanwhile, bottom side Burton Latimer’s remarkable run of form continued as they beat Wollaston to close the gap at the bottom to just sixteen points as the league heads into it’s final round of games this Saturday.
Whilst Stony still hold the upper hand going in to the decisive games, their task on Saturday couldn’t be much harder as they travel to newly crowned champions Peterborough Town whilst Burton face hit or miss mid table side Old Northamptonians.
Stony have had several chances over the last few weeks to secure their Premier Division status and they will feel that this was another chance gone begging. After Saints decided to bat first, Stony had them on the rack at 130 for 8 after another magnificent spell of bowling from captain Alex Strong. Strong’s form with the ball has been the main reason why Stony have been in contention to win a few games recently and his 5 wicket burst here had the visitors in real trouble. Anything under 200 is almost impossible to defend at Campbell Park, so Saints would have been grateful for late order runs from veteran Richard Ashton, who has proved to be a thorn in Stony’s side over the years with bat and ball. In the end, Saints recovered brilliantly to set 225 as the target for the home side to secure their Premier Division status for another season.
Stony’s batting is about as solid as Manchester United’s defence these days and at 70 for 6, they once again found themselves in a perilous position. However, they showed some real grit to get out of the mess and hang on for what could be a valuable draw. Veteran Jilesh Pattni’s unbeaten 60 was their key to survival and Andrew Ellemore hung around for a patient 15 to slow down the Saints charge. In the end, Stony were nine down with 6 overs to bat out with number 11 Steve Richardson, not known for his prowess with the willow, together with Pattni. After a few scares, the pair managed to survive and secured 11 vital points in the process.
So Stony go into the last round of fixtures with their 13 year stay in the top flight hanging in the balance. That Burton have managed to whittle down a 65 point gap to just 16 is to their credit and should they manage one last win to survive, they will thoroughly deserve it. Stony need to produce the performance of the season to get a result at Bretton Gate and keep their destiny in their own hands.
An under strength Stony 2nd XI were well beaten, officially ending any faint hope they had of promotion from Division 2. Stony posted only 133 with Chris Swain top scoring with 28 and Jamie Baxter and Craig Jolley both hitting 23. Kamran Muhammed’s 4-23 off 15 impressive overs was the undoing of the Stony innings. In reply, Saints got home very quickly – in just 22 overs in fact – as Stony struggled badly with the ball. Jack Mousley’s 58 not out sent his side past winning post in no time at all as Stony fell to only their second defeat of the season.
Meanwhile Stony 3rds are set for their own last game showdown – this time at the right end of the table. They remained on course for promotion from Division 5 after a comfortable 84 run win over Mears Ashby. Stony’s innings of 192-9 was built around an important 63 from skipper Rob Arnold and 38 from fellow old timer Neil Allen. Stony’s Michael Brown has had a season to remember with the ball and was excellent here again, claiming 5 for 40 from his 15 overs to put the game firmly in Stony’s control. There was some late resistance from the Mears Ashby tail, but this was broken by young spinner Ben Arnold, who’s 2-12 finished the game off for his side. Stony remain in second place, 8 points ahead of local rivals Wicken and 18 points behind long time leaders St Crispins. With only two going up, it’s sure to be a tense final game of the season for Rob Arnold’s men.
With just two games to go, Stony Stratford continue to hold the upper hand in a two horse race for Premier Division survival - despite falling to yet another disappointing defeat at Rushden on Saturday. With Stony well beaten by 5 o'clock, they made the journey back to Ostlers Lane and turned their attention towards Avenue Road, Finedon - where bottom side Burton Latimer fell just four runs short of a win which would have thrown the survival race wide open with two matches to go.
As has so often been the case this season, Stony were impressive with the ball but woeful with the bat on their way to a 77 run defeat at Rushden. The home side, who’s wage bill looks more like a Premier League football team’s and who’s side is full of overseas and county pros, were rolled over for what looked like a getable score of 173. Stony skipper Alex Strong has found his best form of late with the ball and he was excellent here at Short Stocks, ripping the heart of the star studded home line up with 6 for 52 from 17 very impressive overs. Only former Stony man and current Northants star Rob Keogh found the going relatively easy, smashing the ball to all parts on his way to 34 before being bowled by Strong. Australian Will Sheridan, who plies his trade back home with Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades was also impressive with 31 - and he was to have more of a say in proceedings later when Stony batted. But once they were removed, Rushden had little else to offer. Vicram Sohal backed Strong up well, claiming 3-34 with his off spin and going in to the tea interval, Stony would have been fairly confident of securing the win that would have all but secured their premier division status.
At 49 for 1 in reply, Stony looked to be heading towards that vital win before an all too familiar collapse left them 97 all out and with that familiar sinking feeling. Despite losing Hayden Mullins for 2 in his last game before heading back to Adelaide and a first season with the Redbacks, Stony were in a decent position thanks to Ben Duckett’s 23. Duckett, fresh from a maiden first class century at Somerset for Northamptonshire in the week, was obviously Stony’s main hope of victory and once he fell to Simon Childs, Stony were struggling. Sheridan, who is capable of bowling in the mid 80 mph range, wasn’t that quick here but had more than enough to decimate the Stony order, claiming 5 for 10 from 7 overs. Stony’s collapse was disappointing but really not surprising and it remains to be seen if it costs them their Premier Division status in two weeks time.
Stony’s 2nd XI saw their feint hopes of promotion from Division 2 further recede after a rain affected draw against their Rushden counterparts. Stony won the toss and surprisingly decided to bowl first despite being in desperate need of the maximum points batting first can provide. Rushden made a good fist of being given first go at Campbell Park, posting 206 for 9 thanks to 45 from Will Liptrot and 35 from Gareth Griffiths. Stony’s young bowlers once again showed their great promise for the future - Sam Sibley’s two spells bringing figures of 3-47 and there were two wickets each for Alex Stockton and Josh Whitehead.
Stony got off to a dreadful start and were 35 for 4 when a shower intervened and cost 11 overs. After the break in play, the fortunes of both sides were reversed and Stony managed to comfortably survive to force a draw. Glyn Lewis struck a particularly impressive 60 not out after Jamie Baxter had played an important role in stabilising the innings. Baxter’s innings of 38 came to an end when he was bowled by Thomas Moffatt, who’s 3 for 20 had earlier caused many of Stony’s problems. Stony finished on 138 for 6, well short in the end and a result that saw them drop down to fifth in the table with two games to go.
Stony 3rds are very much in the promotion hunt in Division 5 after a tense 24 run win at fourth placed Badby. Stony batted first and posted 187 for 8 thanks to half centuries from veteran pair Mike Avery (54) and Rob Arnold (56 not out). It looked like it was going to be more than enough when Stony had the visitors 60 for 6 but Badby number 7 William Brooks had other ideas. His 78 not out had Stony in disarray and in danger of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. In the end, they regrouped and managed to come through for a vital win, bowling the home side out for 163 in 44 overs. Michael Brown was once again the main man for Stony with the ball, claiming 4 for 52 before Oswin Peter grabbed the last wicket with a brilliant caught and bowled. Stony lie in second place with two games to go, 11 points ahead of Wicken and 23 behind long time leaders St Crispins 2nd.
With just four games of the league season to go, Stony Stratford’s thirteen year stay in the top flight of Northants cricket remains in the balance after they fell to a twelfth defeat of the season at Oundle on Saturday. Stony may well still be saved because fortunately for them, fellow strugglers Burton Latimer and Brixworth keep losing as well, leaving the bottom three desperately trying to avoid the one relegation spot and a 2015 season in Division One.
Oundle have been one of the league’s surprise packages this season. Their charge into fourth place has once again been spearheaded by South African professional all rounder Petrus Jefta. Jefta is the league’s quickest bowler, but in this game it was more his form with the bat that Stony had to worry about. Batting at three, he smashed a quick fire 64 not out as the home side flayed the normally strong Stony bowling attacked all around Milton Road. Opener Marc Bell found the going even easier, cruising to 101 not out as Oundle set an imposing 245 for 1 before declaring after 49 overs. Fellow opener Ben Groom reached 70 from 75 balls before Vicram Sohal bowled him to take Stony’s only wicket of what was a poor effort in the field.
Stony’s main threat in reply was always going to be Jefta who took six wickets in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season at Campbell Park. They actually played him well here and in particular Sai Ravikumar, who hit a maiden NCL Premier half century to help get his side off to a decent start. It looked like being a familiar story for Stony when Jefta smashed Akheam Fox’s decision timbers for a duck. But number three Hayden Mullins played well for 40 as he and Ravikumar saw off the threat of Jefta and built a solid platform for the visitors. But with Stony well set, the game turned on a fine spell from Oundle spinner Harry Ramsden, who’s 5-33 battered Stony into submission. Ravikumar (54) and Mullins departures saw Stony lose a flurry of wickets, going from 123-3 to 164 all out inside 47 overs. Graham Simpson (17) and Vicram Sohal (16) got starts but couldn’t go on and that was as good as it got for Stony who were well beaten on the day.
They now must regroup ahead of a huge game against Brixworth, a side just 19 points above them in the table. With thirty points on offer for a win, they know victory here would be a huge step towards safety for them. But with Burton now exactly thirty points behind Stony themselves, the Ostlers Lane side will be looking keenly over their shoulders over the next month as the season draws to what looks a dramatic close.
An under-strength Stony 2nd XI lost ground in the race for promotion from Division 2 after drawing at home to Thrapston. The visitors batted first and accumulated 224 for 5 from their 50 overs. Mark Hulbert was the best of the Stony bowlers with 2-23 with Angus Milborne (53) and James Cade (60) leading the way for sixth placed Thrapston. Stony’s batsmen struggled in the main with the exception of Roger Rebbetts. Rebbetts has had a fine season and his 68 not out here proved to be the backbone of Stony’s 154 for 7. A late 23 from youngster Glyn Lewis was also important for Stony who slipped to fourth place in the table. With two sides going up, Stony are now 22 points off the top in what is proving to be a very tight race for the title.
There was better news for the 3rd XI who moved back into 2nd place in Division 5 after an impressive 48 run win over Rothwell 2nd. Stony’s 147 all out wasn’t a substantial target for the visitors and they had veteran opener Andy Preston’s 29 to thank for getting them up there at all. But in the end it proved to be more than enough for Stony who rushed Rothwell out for just 99 in reply. Neil Fewtrell’s 4-25 proved too much for the away side, especially once he caught and bowled obdurate skipper James Swingler for 29. The rest of the Rothwell order offered little and Asad Masroor helped wrap things up for Stony with 2-11. Stony are involved in an exceptionally close fight for second place in Division 5 and this win put them level on 307 points with Kislingbury but well behind leaders St Crispins who have all but sealed the title.
Stony 4ths put out what has to be the oldest XI in club history in their defeat at Winslow 2nd. The away side amassed 232 for 2 before declaring - the gnarled veterans in the Stony side unable to dodge the effects of father time in the field. However, club president Tudor Cowley, playing his first game in several years, enjoyed himself with the bat. Cowley smashed a classy half century before taking the unusual step of retiring out - presumably to allow some of his fellow veterans a chance to match his feats with the willow. Unfortunately, many of them were still recovering from their stint in the field and they were unable to. In the end, Stony were 134 all out - Graham Brandom’s 27 the next best effort for the home side.
After a run of demoralising defeats which has dragged them into a relegation dogfight, Stony Stratford upset the odds and held on for a gritty draw at home to title chasing Rushton on Saturday. It was a result which would have been cheered not only at Ostlers Lane, but also as far away as Peterborough, who’s lead at the top of the table was extended thanks to the visitors inability to take the last three Stony wickets.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Rushton who having won the toss and electing to bat first on another belting Campbell Park surface, were left rueing their inability to score quickly enough to declare and leave additional overs to bowl at the Stony tail. It was a disciplined opening 35 overs from Stony in the field, which saw Rushton score at under 4 an over and meant that they would have to bat their overs out to post a total Stony wouldn’t get near. Andy Ellemore was extremely unlucky not to claim several wickets in an impressive opening spell and then after Russell White (2-52) claimed the wicket of the dangerous Kieran Pierce, Stony had their tails up. Skipper Alex Strong (2-51) returned from injury to bowl well for a full 17 overs and at 125-4 from 34 overs, the innings was in the balance. Stony then seemed to lose focus as three chances to get rid of the prolific Andy Reynoldson were grassed and the scoring rate accelerated. Reynoldson made the most of his repeated chances and played brilliantly for a crucial 106, with great support late on from Bradley Armer. But with little to come in the way of batting after this pair, Stony were left thinking of what might have been had they taken those chances. Rushton recovered well to post 238-5 in 55 overs to take the momentum into the tea break.
The pitch remained ideal for batting and Stony openers Graham Simpson and Sai Ravikumar looked in no trouble early on against Rushton’s excellent new ball pairing of Marc Jackson and Jake Higginbottom. Many of Stony’s batting woes have been self- inflicted this season, their inability to judge the pace of an innings proving far more lethal than much of the bowling they have faced this summer. So with Simpson well set and looking in complete control, he then launched in to an expansive drive which resulted in his stumps being re-arranged by Higginbottom – a dismissal seemingly typical of Stony’s summer. With their tails now up, Rushton and in particular Higginbottom launched into Stony with everything they had. Ravikumar (10) and Vicram Sohal (6) both fell to the left armer and at 65-4, there was a familiar look to the Stony scorecard. But for once, there was an unfamiliar outcome thanks in the main to gutsy innings played by Hayden Mullins and Jilash Pattni. Aussie Mullins has struggled for form of late, but curbed his attacking instincts here to anchor the innings with a very fine 56. Stony actually got to the 30 overs mark on 99-4 – not far from where Rushton found themselves earlier in the day. But as soon as they lost Russell White for 10, their chances of winning the game were over. Pattni (26) played Higginbottom as well as anyone all day, showing the experience and calmness under pressure that Stony have desperately lacked for most of the season. Stony were seemingly cruising with ten overs to go, but then Mullins lost his patience and slog swept Andrew Reynoldson (2-23) straight up in the air to give the visitors fresh hope. Buoyed by this, Higginbottom came back for one last big effort and cleaned Pattni up with a terrific yorker, but that was as good as it got for Rushton who could only watch on as Alex Strong and Mike Avery comfortably batted out the remaining five overs to give Stony a share of the points on 140-7.
Despite only gaining five points from their efforts, it was a much better performance from Stony, who batted the full 55 overs for the first time in weeks. Bottom side Burton Latimer lost but picked up ten points in the process, closing the gap on Stony who face a crucial ’60 pointer’ at home to third bottom Brixworth on Saturday.
A makeshift Stony 2nd XI held on for a creditable draw on a minefield of a wicket in the top of the table Division 2 clash at East Haddon. The home side batted first and had the best of the conditions, scoring 201 for 8 in their 50 overs. Josh Whitehead continued his excellent form this season with 2-42 but even more impressive was 16 year old Sam Sibley. The left armer has pace and the ability to swing the ball back in to the right hander and he used both to good effect here, claiming 4-41 in two spells. With the wicket rapidly disintegrating, Stony found balls landing in the same area were either rolling on the ground or bouncing head high, so survival quickly became the priority rather than chasing down the runs. And survive they did, with Jamie Walsh (27) and Jamie Baxter (26 not out) the mainstays of the Stony reply, which finished on 135 for 7.
Stony 3rds promotion hopes have faltered in recent weeks and they suffered a further set back at home to Overstone Park 2’s, falling to a two wicket defeat in a low scoring game. Stony only managed 77 batting first at Ostlers Lane, Assad Masroor top scoring with 23. Sheel Patel claimed 5-13 for the visitors. Overstone struggled almost as badly as the home side in reply, with Neil Fewtrell, Michael Brown and Ben Arnold all in the wickets. Overstone got home in the end thanks to an unbeaten 14 from Nick Field at number 8. The match was also notable for Stony with Martha Manktelow becoming the first female to play NCL cricket for the club in it’s history. 15 year old Martha, who has played age group cricket for the county, claimed 1-17 from 8 overs.
Finally, the 4th XI were far too strong for Old Bradwell 2nd XI, cruising to an 81 run win. Stony posted 221, thanks almost entirely to Craig Jolley (88) and Max Nagy (69). The next top score was 9, so it really was down to these two that this sort of total was possible. Stony’s bowlers had no trouble knocking over the home side for 140, with 2 wickets each for Frank Jolley, Jeff Stopford and man of the match Jolley. Stony now find themselves in fifth position with two game of the league season to go.
MATCH REPORT 2014 - 11th August 2014
After a summer filled with disappointing results, Stony Stratford’s latest defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Wollaston has left them contemplating a three way relegation battle for the rest of the season. Bottom club Burton Latimer’s first win of the season against Brixworth means that they reduced the gap between them and Stony to just 38 points, a gap that was more than double that just a few weeks ago. With six games of the season remaining, Burton are now right back in the survival race, and have dragged Brixworth into the equation as well - the villagers themselves just seven points ahead of Stony now.
Stony’s troubles this season have almost exclusively been down their inability to bat at this level - and even against a fairly ordinary Wollaston attack, they weren’t able to get close to their target of 184 in 55 overs. Despite again fielding a batting order with plenty of talent and ability, they capitulated to 90 all out, with veteran off spinner Steve Musgrave doing the bulk of the damage for the home side with five cheap wickets. Fellow spinner and home skipper Chris Perry grabbed 3 of his own as Stony lost wickets at regular intervals, finding themselves all out inside just 25 overs. Only an obdurate 15 off 47 balls from opener Graham Simpson and 30 from Vicram Sohal saved Stony from more humiliation, the next top score being ten.
Earlier in the day, Stony’s bowlers had done a great job of putting their side into a decent position at the half way stage. A fine opening spell from young left armer Aaron Ashton (3 for 19) left the home side teetering on the ropes and he was well backed up Simpson and Sohal who took two wickets each. But Wollaston’s tail showed a lot more fight than their Stony counterparts, taking their side from a perilous 93 for 6 to what turned out to be a comfortable 183 for 9 in 55 overs. The win sees Wollaston all but guarantee their Premier Division survival but puts Stony back in the mire as Burton look to pull off another miraculous escape as they have done for the last three seasons.
Stony have six games to secure their status and they start with a very tough home fixture to title chasing Rushton this weekend at Campbell Park.
Stony ends kept their promotion dream alive in Division 2 with a four wicket win at mid table Overstone Park. Stony lost the toss and were asked to bowl first by the home side and it was a toss they didn’t mind losing after they bowled Overstone out for just 88. Star of the show was Andrew Ellemore, who claimed brilliant figures of 6 for 44 - his best return for the club in some time - as Stony looked to make short work of things. Josh Whitehead continued his excellent season with the new ball, claiming 3 for 12. Stony didn’t have it all their own way in reply, losing six wickets along the way before getting home inside 36 overs. Arvind Ramest, another youngster showing great promise, made 24 and Henry Charter 38 to get their side over the line for a ninth win of the season. Stony remain in 2nd place but level on points with Kettering in what looks like being a race for promotion that will go to the final game of the season.
The 3rd XI lost ground in their Division 5 promotion battle at Kettering 2nd. Stony struggled to post 136 all out batting first, a score that was mainly thanks to Neil Allen’s 53 and 29 from Oswin Peter. Peter’s 3 for 23 capped a fine all round day for him, but wasn’t enough to stop Stony from falling to just their 4th defeat of the season by seven wickets, Jeremy Lines 57 proving to be key for his side. Results elsewhere meant that Stony remained in the second promotion place, well adrift of top side St Crispins but now only three points ahead of Wicken who are hot on their heals in third place.
Finally, Stony 4s were edged out by three wickets in their latest FCCL Division 6 encounter. Batting first, Stony posted 162 for 7 with Andy Preston continuing his fine run of form with 50 at the top of the order. Two wickets each for Deepak Ravikumar and Martha Manktelow weren’t enough to prevent Stony falling to a seventh defeat of the season, leaving them in fifth place in the table.
span style="'font-family:" "Trebuchet MS",sans-serif;'>
The 1st and 2nd XI games were abandoned this week, hence the shorter than usual reports.
Stony Stratford’s fixture at Horton House fell victim to the wet weather last Saturday, leaving the city side still occupying 11thposition in the NCL Premier Division table with seven games to play. Before the rained intervened, Stony had competed well against a strong Horton side, reducing them to 184 for 8 inside 45 overs. There were two wickets apiece for Aaron Ashton, Graham Simpson and Maurice Chambers, while Lee Hilton top scored for the home side with 50.
Stony face a hugely important trip to old rivals Wollaston this Saturday. Wollaston, who lie just two places above Stony in the table, have had their own problems with form this year but remain a competitive outfit. Stony will be encouraged by elements of their performance on Saturday before the heavens opened.
The 2nd XI were also unfortunate to have their Division 2 game against Wellingborough Town 2nds abandoned. They were 149 for 6 before a downpour left the Campbell Park surface unplayable and lost ground to leaders Kettering, who won by five wickets against Long Buckby.
In Division 5, Stony 3rds maintained their unbeaten run with a hard fought draw at leaders St Crispins 2nds. St Crispins declared on 206 for 7 with Ben Arnold continuing his fine form this season with 3 for 28 for Stony. Stony only had 30 overs to reply due to losing overs earlier in the day due to rain. Despite that, they still made a good fist of the chase, getting to 188 for 6 before running out of time. Opener Arvind Ramesh top scored for Stony with 43.
Finally in Division 6 of FCCL, Stony drew with Wing and Wingrave. Stony posted 163 for 5 and in a tense finish had Wing 9 wickets down before the visitors hung on for the draw in the last over.
MATCH REPORT 2014 - 26th July 2014
After a rare win last week, Stony Stratford slumped to a tenth defeat of the season after going down by 105 runs to title chasing Old Northamptonians.
There was a sizeable crowd for the game which was played at Stony’s traditional home of Ostlers Lane, with Campbell Park unavailable due to the Northamptonshire one day cup fixture this Tuesday. Alex Strong won the toss and to the surprise of some elected to bowl on what looked to be an excellent surface for batting. ON’s former county man Rob White certainly made himself at home, smashing 94 as the visitors posted 249 for 7. Declaring as they did with only two overs to go was in some ways a nod to the excellent surface - Stony have made over 250 only once all year. Earlier, White proved to be the difference, rescuing what was otherwise a stuttering ON’s batting performance. Stony bowled well in parts, with Russell White (2-33) and Steve Richardson (1-43) helping to claw the visitors back after they’d got off to a flyer. White’s innings was to prove the difference here, with the rest of the ON’s side making starts but not being able to go on to anything higher than 32.
Stony have struggled with the bat all season but in fairness, there have been occasions when they have been undone by some very high quality bowling. This was not one of them. By the 32nd over, Stony had 144 runs on the board and so were way ahead of the required rate. Unfortunately they’d also lost all of their wickets, 5 of them to a 16 year old medium pacer who claimed the best figures of his fledgling career. Tom Heathfield’s 5 for 38 ripped the heart out of the Stony innings, along with 4 for 54 from MCC Young cricketer Afaq Babar. It’s probably not the best either of them has bowled this season, but on this occasion it proved easily good enough against Stony’s at times kamikaze approach to their innings. The majority of the Stony players simply gave their wickets away rather than being undone by superior bowling and it’s this naive approach to Premier Division batting which has resulted in them fighting relegation this season, rather than sitting in mid table with other sides of comparative ability. There were plenty of positive strokes and boundaries came thick and fast, but unfortunately so did the wickets. Vicram Sohal (29) and Russell White (34) were the best Stony had to offer in a game they could have made much closer with a slightly more restrained approach to their chase. Instead, they entertained and frustrated the Stony faithful in equal measures on another afternoon to forget.
Bottom side Burton Latimer lost for the twelfth time this season and only picked up a point in the process, so Stony increased the gap between them to 67 points, which with nine games to go looks unlikely to be closed. Stony face a difficult trip to Horton House on Saturday and will need to improve drastically with the bat to have any chance.
Meanwhile, the 2nd XI’s Division 2 title challenge continued with a brilliant 5 wicket win over promotion rivals St Crispins. Stony’s formula for success this season has been to bowl sides out cheaply and knock them off. That didnt happen here and so this win was all the more impressive after the home side had posted an excellent 238 all out - mainly thanks to 70 from Andrew Skelton. Crucially, spells from Andrew Ellemore (3-46) and Roger Rebbetts (3-49) meant that the home side failed to bat their 50 overs, giving Stony 3 more to complete their chase. They used all of them, eventually getting over the line with 4 balls to spare. Graham Simpson lead them home with a brilliant 91 while Chris Swain’s excellent season continued with vital 69. It was Rebbetts though who saw Stony home, finishing unbeaten on 37 to give Stony arguably their best win of what is turning into an outstanding season.
Stony 3rds remain in the promotion hunt in Division 5 despite after a rather tame draw at home to Wicken 1sts. Former Stony man Dave Pollard smashed 78 as Wicken posted 247 for 8 from their 50 overs, a total which seemed to put Stony off the idea of chasing it. George Collins was the best of the Stony bowlers with 4-41 and he was well supported by Ben Arnold’s 3-46. Stony didn’t attempt to chase the total and had no problem batting through for a draw for the loss of only 3 wickets. Neil Allen (68*) and skipper Rob Arnold (48*) saw Stony through to 177 at the end to 14 points ahead of Wicken in the second promotion spot.
There was a second successive win for the 4th XI in Division 6 of the FCCL. Batting first at Little Horwood, Stony hammered 273 for 4 thanks to a fine 101 not out from veteran Andy Preston and a fine 86 from Varun Kale. This proved far too many for the home side who were rushed out for 104, mainly due to fine spells from Deepak Ravikumar (3-13) and Max Nagy (3-8).
Stony Stratford took a huge step towards securing their NCL Premier Division status on Saturday with a comfortable five wicket win at bottom side Burton Latimer. It was Stony’s third win of what has been a difficult campaign this summer, but it has opened a 64 point gap over their rivals in the battle to face the drop into Division One.
The wicket at Burton is notoriously tricky to bat on and that, plus the inevitable nerves given the significance of the contest meant that this was always going to be a low scoring game. Stony skipper Alex Strong decided that bowling first was the right tactic and he’d have been satisfied to see the hosts rolled over for 162 just inside 55 overs. Burton got off to a solid start, in fact getting to 61 before they lost their first wicket. The Burton top order all got starts, but opener Daniel Bird’s 30 was the highest score made by the home side as the early promise of their innings was pegged back by a strong Stony bowling performance. Strong was excellent, taking 2-13 from ten overs, whilst all rounder Russell White completed the first part of a match winning performance with 3 for 26 with the new ball. Spinners Vicram Sohal (3-40) and Steve Richardson (2-42) were economical and slowed much of the momentum in the Burton innings. 162 was unlikely to be enough, but against a Stony side who have struggled desperately with the bat this season and on their home patch with so much at stake, Burton would have felt they were well in the game at the half way point.
Stony included Northants and England Under 19 star Ben Duckett in their side for the first time in the league this season, but he was one of three early wickets to fall as Stony made an inauspicious and nervy start to their chase. When Sai Ravikumar departed for 13, Stony were 32 for 3 and the batting fragility which has crippled them this season looked like it might prove costly here again. But Stony showed real grit on this occasion and a partnership of 69 for the fourth wicket between Mark Hulbert (35) and Sohal (33) swung the contest back into the hands of the visitors. But batting was getting harder and two wickets for Burton with the score on 101 put the game back in the balance. It was a time for cool heads, and fortunately the coolest on the field belonged to Russell White. Deciding that the deteriorating wicket meant that attack was the best policy, he produced a match winning innings of 46 from only 30 balls to make sure Stony left with the points. Skipper Strong (15*) was there at the end, the pair adding 65 to see Stony home in 40 overs.
Whilst Stony will be breathing a little easier after this result, Burton should not be counted out of mounting a late season survival charge. They have been in similar positions in the last several seasons and have always found a way to survive and with nine games remaining, there is a lot of cricket to be played. Stony face a much stiffer test against a strong Old Northamptonians side at Campbell Park this week.
Stony’s 2nd XI have been in fine form of late, surging to the top of the Division 2 table. But their progress was slightly halted on Saturday after hanging on for a draw at home to Wellingborough Indians. Stony asked the visitors to bat first and after taking 4 quick wickets, they would have been slightly disappointed to have allowed the Indians to post 199. Leg spinner Jamie Baxter was the most successful of the Stony bowlers, claiming 4 for 65 and there were two wickets for the impressive young left armer Sam Sibley. Stony’s reply was decimated by Hitesh Sharma, who’s 5 for 21 threatened to roll the leaders over for under 100. But two more Stony youngsters, Jamie Walsh (37) and Henry Charter (29) batted excellently to solidify the Stony innings. In the end, with nine wickets down, last man Sibley played an excellent unbeaten knock of 19 to leave Stony on 155 and with a share of the points. Stony lie in second in what is looking like a promotion battle which will go to the wire.
Stony 3rd XI just can’t stop winning at the moment and they thrashed Wellingborough Indians 2nds to stay in 2nd place in Division 5. Batting first, they posted 189 for 7 mainly thanks to 62 from Nabeel Ahmed, 30 from veteran Stuart Gulliver and 32 from Alex Stockton. With the Indians last man unable to bat, only nine wickets were required for Stony and they quickly got them. The home side were left well short on 94 with Neil Fewtrell, George Collins and Ben Arnold all claiming three wickets apiece.
Finally, in Division 6 of the FCCL, Stony 4s grabbed an exciting win against Lidlington. Chasing 171 to win, Stony were in trouble on 115 for 8 and needing before Junior Hunte rolled back the years with an unbeaten half century to guide his side home to just a third win of the season.
MATCH REPORT 2014 - 21st June 2014
Stony Stratford were edged out by one wicket in a dramatic encounter against title chasing Rushden at Campbell Park, a result which leaves them in tenth position nine games into the season. Going into the game, big spending Rushden would have been clear favourites but for much of the afternoon, it looked like Stony were going to spring an upset until a fine innings from former Northants all rounder Christian Davis proved to be decisive for the title chasing visitors.
Newly promoted Rushden are almost unrecognisable from the side that was relegated from the Premier Division several seasons ago. After winning Division One at a canter last year, they have taken the NCL by storm this year with a side packed with professionals and they look to be genuine challengers to reigning champions and current table toppers Peterborough. But they faced a serious challenge from a competitive Stony side who were on a high after a good win away at Brixworth last week. Stony’s total of 244 was built around a fine innings from Aussie import Hayden Mullins, who hit a fabulous 128. It was a second century of the season for the 18 year old from Adelaide who now has 430 runs from nine innings for Stony. But the rest of the order failed to fire and crucially, Stony failed to bat their entire 55 overs, being bowled out in 50 overs and handing 5 to the visitors to help them with their chase.
Still, 244 was a challenging total and with Stony’s side including Northants quickie Maurice Chambers for the first time, they were confident of defending that total. And when Rushden were 87 for 4 and then 142 for 7, they were well on top of proceedings. Rushden’s chase got off to a decent start but was slowed dramatically with the introduction of Stony’s spinners Graham Simpson and Vicram Sohal. Simpson bowled his entire 17 over allocation straight through to record fine figures of 3 for 50 and Sohal was equally impressive in his spell of 4 for 67. The pair took the first seven wickets to fall but in amongst all of this, Rushden’s Davis was building a match winning century of his own. As wickets tumbled at the other end, Davis remained composed as the pressure built. When Chambers - who was a bit short in his first spell but found a great length in his second – had number 10 Will Liptrot caught for one, Rushden were nine down and on the brink. But Stony, who dropped a couple of catches on the way, were unable to force the last wicket. Rushden were two overs in to their extra allocation when they eventually got over the line, with Davis unbeaten on 105.
It was a fine game and one that Stony could take real heart from as well 14 important points. They will take heart from pushing such a good side all the way, but will also be disappointed that they weren’t able to turn a winning position into a second successive victory.
Stony 2nds bounced back from a rare defeat last week with a comprehensive nine wicket thrashing of their Rushden counterparts in Division 2. Stony’s young bowling attack once again shone here, with Aaron Ashton (4-30) and Josh Whitehead (2 – 31) really impressive with the new ball. They decimated the Rushden top order and then Roger Rebbetts (4-29) swept up the tail with a fine spell of his own, the home side all out for just 115 in 40 overs. Stony had no trouble in getting the runs. They lost only the wicket of Rebbetts early on before prolific skipper Chris Swain (56*) and veteran Neil Allen (42*) both remained unbeaten as the total was reached inside 33 overs. Stony are now back into third place, just two points behind Kettering who are in the second promotion slot.
Stony 3rds won a fourth consecutive game with an exciting four wicket win over Badby. Badby, who were 40 for 7 at one point, recovered well to post 133 for 7 from their 50 overs. And despite a few wobbles along the way against a strong bowling attack, Stony got home for the loss of six wickets and lie in fifth place after nine games.
Finally, in Division 6 of the Four Counties League, Stony 4s struggled again, this time going down by 120 runs to Winslow Town 1st XI.
MATCH REPORT 2014 - 14th June 2014
Stony Stratford ended a run of four successive defeats with a spirited 19 run victory at Brixworth on Saturday. It was a much needed triumph, bringing a vital 30 points which has helped Stony open up a fifty point gap over bottom side Burton Latimer and brought them within 15 points of Brixworth in ninth place.
Stony’s recent performances have been stifled by a real struggle to score runs, a situation which has intensified over the last few weeks as they have struggled to post scores in excess of a hundred. Needless to say, at this level, that doesn’t give you much chance of winning games. After thirty overs of Saturday’s game, those batting woes had reared their heads again and at 65 for 5 Stony were again heading in to deep trouble. But one of the more positive innings of the season so far was played by James Pickles, a man who has played most of his cricket at Stony in the 2nd XI. He made the most of his opportunity having been called up into the 1sts with a determined 48, which provided the platform for partnerships with Russell White (35) and the rapidly improving Kevin Wijesinghe (24*). Pickles was denied a first half-century at this level by running himself out, but he can be forgiven that minor indiscretion as it was his innings which really the platform from which Stony were able to post 174 for 8 from their 55 overs. Earlier White had batted with real patience and curbed his attacking instincts whilst wickets tumbled at the other end thanks to good spells from Sam Bold (2-16) and Fred Newborough (2-13).
Brixworth have been boosted in recent weeks by some major contributions from Northants all rounder Stephen Crook, but his inclusion in the Northants county championship side on Sunday meant he was absent here. The hosts batting line up still included plenty of class, including Tom Worthington who had scored no fewer than three hundreds against Stony in the past two seasons. But Worthington was bowled by Russell White for 23 and was one of five early wickets to fall as Brixworth struggled. Stony’s attack has been in decent form this year despite not often having many runs to defend and here, Stony captain Alex Strong bowled with good pace and accuracy to grab three early scalps. The fielding was also well up to scratch as both Akheam Fox and Vicram Sohal took excellent catches that were to prove critical. A sixth wicket stand between Peter Caunt (29) and Ashley Starmer (52) threatened to put the hosts back in the game on 108 for 5, before Starmer became one of three wickets for Graham Simpson (3 for 18). Wickets continued to fall at a regular pace from here and in the end it was Strong who returned to trap Ross McLean in front lbw for 0, the skipper finishing with 4 for 47 but more importantly, a full thirty points
Stony will have to be at their best on Saturday as they take on leaders Rushden, another side packed with professionals who have taken the league by surprise so far this season.
Whilst the 1sts were busy getting their season back on track, Stony 2nds suffered a surprise 65 run defeat to mid table Kettering at Campbell Park in Division 2. They would have been happy at the half way point, having restricted the visitors to just 147 for 8. Jilesh Pattni lead the way for Stony with the ball taking 3 for 22 and with two wickets Sean Rebbetts and Aaron Ashton, it looked like Kettering didn’t have enough to trouble Stony. That proved far from the case however as the visitors bowled brilliantly to rush to the home side out for just 82. Sean Stokes was the main man for Kettering, taking 4 for 26 whilst Pattni’s 25 was the best Stony could muster on a disappointing afternoon.
Stony 3rds won another tight game in Division 5, this time at Burton Latimer 3rds. Burton batted first and posted 141 all out. Stony used no less than eight bowlers and Ben Arnold was the most successful of them with 3 for 15 whilst there were two wickets apiece for Neil Fewtrell and Oswin Peter. In reply, Stony got home by three wickets after really struggling early on. Youngster Craig Coxon showed real promise for the future with a match winning 49 not out. Neil Allen had earlier hit a calm 23 when wickets were tumbling around him.
Finally, Stony 4ths lost their fourth game of the season in Division 6 of the FCCL with a five wicket defeat at home to Old Bradwell. Stony posted 185 but Bradwell had little trouble getting home in 43 overs
With a third of the season now behind them, Stony Stratford still have only one win to show for their efforts so far after another poor batting performance handed Oundle a five wicket win at Campbell Park on Saturday. Stony’s trouble with the willow is giving their bowlers mountains to climb and as with recent defeats against ON’s and Rushton, the bowlers brave efforts were not enough trying to defend a paltry score.
This year, the NCL has seen a glut of professional cricketers strengthen clubs from top to bottom and there are not many better than Oundle’s South African Petrus Jefta. A regular in the Lions franchise side in his homeland, Jefta’s extreme pace has undone better sides than Stony over the past couple of seasons and he was at his best here, claiming 5 for 31 from 11 quick overs. None of the Stony top seven scored double figures and at one stage, at 26 for 6, Stony were on the brink of their all time lowest NCL score. They were thankful in the end to the efforts of Kevin Wijesinghe (30) and Graham Simpson who stopped the rot for half an hour and scored quickly to take the score towards the hundred mark. However, both were dismissed in quick succession, still on the attack and the rest of Stony’s tail didn’t wag - their 86 all out proving to be a desperate struggle.
Even on a slightly more green and seamer friendly wicket than usual at Campbell Park, that was highly unlikely to be enough and despite a good fight from the Stony attack, Oundle made it home. Russell White’s 3 for 20 and two early wickets from skipper Alex Strong gave Stony five wickets and that meant five points which kept them above Wollaston in 11th place.
Stony’s young batting order does have some talented individuals in it’s ranks, and the 285 they scored against Burton Latimer earlier in the season shows that it can be done. But inexperience and a lack of confidence after a run of four successive defeats is making runs hard to come by. They really need to find an answer, some self belief and quickly if they are going to start winning games again at this level.
Whilst the 1st XI continue to struggle, the 2nd team are in good form. A fourth win of the season coming away at Thrapston saw them rise to third in the table. Their total of 205 for 8 saw several contributions, mostly notably from captain Chris Swain (50), Mike Avery (31) and Sai Ravikumar (25). The score proved far too much for the home side to get near to as they struggled against Stony’s young pace attack. Aaron Ashton took four wickets for the second successive week, coming at a cost of just 21 runs and fellow opener Josh Whitehead (2-26) removed both openers to get his side off to a great start. Andrew Ellemore then took over where the others left off, taking the final four wickets to fall for just 15 runs inside five overs to consign Thrapston to defeat on 86 all out.
Star man of the day for Stony however was 3rd XI all rounder Michael Brown. He produced career best figures of 8 for 32, seven of which were bowled as Stony dismissed Rothwell 2nd for 107 at Ostlers Lane in Division 5. Then, in a nervy chase in which Stony lost seven wickets before getting to their target, Brown came in at number nine to hit the winning runs for his side with a characteristic drive over cover, capping off a great day for the well liked club man. Jamie Walsh (24*) was the mainstay of the Stony innings after they lost four early wickets.
Stony Stratford’s batting demons reared their heads again on Saturday at Rushton as Stony Stratford were consigned to a fourth defeat in six Premier Division games. It’s been a tough start to the summer for Stony, who go into June with only a solitary win over bottom side Burton Latimer to show for their efforts thus far.
to be fair, on a wet and green Rushton wicket, whoever had to bat first was going to be up against it. Unfortunately for Stony skipper Alex Strong, he called incorrectly at the toss and opposite number Jonathan Carpenter had little hesitation sending Stony in to bat. Strong then had to sit on helplessly as only two of his batsmen made double figures on the way to a paltry 78 all out in under thirty overs. Rushton used just two bowlers, both left armers and they caused havoc from the first over for the visitors. Jake Higgingbottom (6-36) and Marc Jackson (4-35) made the most of the seamer friendly conditions and went through the Stony order like a dose of salts. Only Jarrod Pretorius (39) and Akheam Fox (13) made a fist of it for the visitors, who are finding runs at this level too difficult to come by so far this season.
Knowing that they only had a small total to chase down, Rushton decided that all out attack was the best policy on a wicket still offering enough assistance for the bowlers. Ben Mansell (44) was chaser in chief for the home side, clattering 44 off just 21 balls to take the match quickly beyond the visitors. Russell White and Alex Strong both claimed two wickets for Stony as the runs and wickets flowed, but with such a small total to chase down, Rushton could afford to lose four wickets along the way before easing their way over the line to an easy win.
Stony need to rapidly find some form to avoid being cut adrift towards the bottom of the table with fellow strugglers Wollaston and Burton Latimer. They get a chance to get a second win of the season at home to Oundle on Saturday.
There was better news for Stony Stratford 2nd XI as they recorded a straightforward 55 run win at home to East Haddon. Stony were asked to bat first on another tricky, wet wicket but made a good first of things, closing on 176-9 from their 50 overs. Prolific captain Chris Swain once again led from the front with what turned out to be a match winning 84. James Pickles 28 was the next best score as the home side worked hard to post a competitive total. In reply, East Haddon never recovered from a four wicket burst from Aaron Ashton early on. Two wickets each for Josh Whitehead and Roger Rebbetts made sure that the visitors had no chance of getting close to their target as they finished on 121 all out.
Stony 3rds also ran out winners against Overstone Park 2nd XI. Stony batted first and veteran opener Stuart Gulliver rolled back the years with 56 to take his side to 175 all out in 50 overs. The next top score came from Neil Allen who managed 18. The home side fell well short in reply on 121 after spells from Michael Brown (4-20) and Neil Allen (3-34) proved decisive. Gulliver returned late on for the ball for Stony and quickly bowled last man Dominic McDowell for 3 to secure the point for his team.
Stony 4ths came unstuck against Wing & Wingrave 2nd XI, going down to a 28 run defeat. Wing made 169 with Rishi Upadhyay claiming 4-30 for Stony. But despite an excellent 63 from opener Damian Groves, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals and fell to defeat inside 40 overs.
Stony Stratford’s pre-season hopes of challenging towards the top of the Premier Division table took another blow following a comprehensive seven wicket defeat to Horton House on Saturday. The win took surprise packages Horton to second in the table, while Stony now lie in tenth after a third defeat in four games.
Stony lost the toss but were happy enough to be asked to bat first on another immaculate Campbell Park surface. Their total of 195 for 9 from 55 overs may have been competitive on some grounds, but it was never going to be enough against a side in such form and on a wicket which was perfect for batting. The fact that Stony got to 195 was mainly down to another fine innings from Australian Hayden Mullins, who has made a fantastic start to his season in England. His 65, plus late order cameos from Ed Tate (31) and Graham Simpson (25) gave the Stony card a healthier look after they had been reduced to 63 for 4 earlier in the day. Charlie McDonnell was particularly impressive for the visitors, claiming 3 for 32 from 14 overs. Spinner Andrew Neate also claimed 3 wickets for Horton, who disrupted Stony’s progress with regular breakthroughs and fine fielding throughout.
Stony were in the game early on when Steve Bellew trapped both Jack Johnson (6) and Elliott Ruff (0) lbw with successive balls. Bellew, playing his last game for the club before retiring due to a long term injury, bowled with good pace and swung the ball back into the right handers to provide some early threat for the home side. But all the Stony bowlers more than met their matches with arrival of Leo Carter at the crease. The New Zealand under19 star took his time to get off the mark and then set about constructing a brilliant hundred which quickly took the game away from Stony. Akash Shah (18) was unlucky to be run out to leave the visitors 50 for 3, but then Charlie McDonnell joined Carter and the pair put on a quite brilliant match winning 146 for the fourth wicket. Carter finished on 105 while McDonnell’s excellent all round display was capped off with a fine 60 not out. Stony played well in patches, but doing it for the full 110 overs has proved elusive so far this season and they will need to quickly turn around this early season form to meet their pre-season expectations.
There was better news for the 2nd XI who won at Wellingborough Town 2nd by three wickets in a tight game. ‘Boro 2’s posted 152 for 8 from their 50 overs mainly thanks to Daniel Austin’s 54. Wickets were shared amongst the Stony bowlers with Henry Charter (3-23) and Andrew Ellemore (2-40) the most successful. Stony’s reply got off to a decent start thanks to Sai Ravkumar’s 52 and skipper Chris Swain’s 24, but a middle order wobble put the game in the balance. Tim Coleman’s outstanding spell of 6-24 caused real problems for Stony, but they got over the line in the end thanks to Andrew Ellemore (18) and Roger Rebbets (15) to record their second win of an unbeaten start to the season.
The 3rd XI struggled against a strong St Crispins 2nd XI at Ostlers Lane. The visitors racked up a daunting 251 for 9 from their 50 overs despite the best efforts of Neil Fewtrell, who was in the wickets again with 4 for 64. Stony were well short in reply on 145 but just 3 overs from a draw when the last wicket fell. Jamie Walsh (24) and Andy Miller (22) both got good starts but were unable to go on to a big score which may have saved the game for their side.
Stony 4ths finished off a pretty patchy day for the club with a 60 run defeat at Lidlington. Batting first, the home side made 186 with 4 wickets for Stony bowler Oakley Young. In reply, Stony limped to 126 all out with brothers Craig and Joel Coxon’s 23 and 21 respectively the bright spot for Stony who lost for a third time this season.
A quick glance at the pre match team sheets suggested that Stony Stratford would have a struggle on their hands at Old Northamptonians on Saturday. The ON’s side contained no fewer than five players with first class experience, including outstanding young Northants all rounder David Willey and the prolific former county opener Rob White. White in particular showed his class with a fine all round display, his more than useful leg spin and then lusty hitting setting up a seven wicket win for his side.
Stony battled hard and can count themselves as unfortunate to have been on the wrong end of two decisions which played a part in their downfall. After losing Tom Moore to the opening ball of the match, Stony looked well set as Akheam Fox and last week’s centurion Hayden Mullins saw off the threat of another former Northants man, David Wigley. The pair had taken the score to 55 when Fox (16) was adjudged caught behind after his bat hit his pad but missed the ball from the bowling of White. Another man in good form Jarrod Pretorius was given out in almost identical fashion later in the afternoon when he was looking to stabilise the Stony innings which was under pressure from White’s leg spin. Whilst Stony didn’t have any luck with those decisions, that’s not to take anything away from the bowling of White, who’s variations proved to be unfathomable for most of the Stony order. Mullins played him well on his way to 62, but when he skied a top edge of the bowling of Zed Barbar the writing was on the wall. After a promising start, Stony limped to 117 all out which was never enough to trouble the home side.
Stony needed early wickets and they thought they had one almost immediately when they were convinced White had nicked a Steve Bellew delivery behind to Praveen Chandran second ball. But it was given not out and after seeing off the early threat of Bellew and Alex Strong, White began to open his shoulders. Notorious on the county circuit as a big hitter, White showed no mercy here and crashed his way to 47 and with Zak Khawaja solid at the other end, they built the necessary platform to take their side to victory. One bright spot for Stony was the bowling of Kevin Wijesinghe. He took three wickets, including that of White (47), Khawaja (26) and the prized scalp of Willey for 7 in a very impressive spell. But it was too little too late for Stony, who will be looking to bounce back against early season surprise package Horton House next week at Campbell Park.
In Division 2, Stony 2nds settled for a draw in a tight finish at home against St Crispins. The visitors batted first at Campbell Park and were restricted to 158 for 9 from their 50 overs. Steve Richardson was again in the wickets for Stony with 4-53 and he was well supported by Jilesh Pattni (3-28). But like their opponents, Stony found runs hard to come by. James Pickles (46) and Nick Allen gave Stony hope, but after they both fell, wickets tumbled and runs dried up as the home side were forced hang on nine wickets down and nine runs short on 147.
Stony 3rds were left little chance against Wicken after they were rushed out for 78 in their Division 5 local derby. Only Oswin Peter’s 21 gave the Stony scorecard any hint of respectability and with Wicken getting home by just four wickets, they will have been left rueing their poor display with the bat. Steve Ratcliffe’s 36 was enough to take his side to victory, with Stony spinners Jamie Baxter and Ben Arnold both taking two wickets each.
Finally Stony 4ths had a convincing win over MK City. Stony wracked up 196 and this proved far too many for City who were dismissed for exactly 100.
After a stuttering start to the season last week, all four of Stony Stratford’s senior sides got their seasons on track with wins on Saturday.
Returning 1st XI skipper Alex Strong, who missed his side’s opening day defeat at Finedon was delighted with his team’s display in an emphatic 158 run win over Burton Latimer at Campbell Park. Strong won the toss and showed confidence in the Stony batting line up which struggled at Finedon last week by opting to bat first. To be fair, the wicket was perfect for batting and this young Burton side was not anywhere near the calibre of last week’s opponents, but still Stony were impressive rattling up 283 for 4 in their 55 overs. Opening pair Tom Moore (18) and Northants youngster Vicram Sohal carefully put on 60 in the first 20 overs before Moore fell to a smart catch at gully from the bowling of 16 year old Ethan Delargy. The arrival of Australian Hayden Mullins to the crease quickly saw the scoring rate increase and Sohal himself soon passed 50 as the runs began to flow. Burton’s young, inexperienced attack made the mistake of bowling on both sides of the wicket and on such a true batting surface against two players in form, this was to prove costly. Mullins quickly brought up his own half century and Sohal looked on course to get to three figures before a missed reverse sweep saw him trapped in front to fall lbw for 79. Akheam Fox soon followed for 1 but Jarrod Pretorius’s great start to the season continued and he and Mullins really put the visitors to the sword. Stony scored over a hundred in the last fifteen overs with Mullins bringing up a chanceless 100 from exactly the same number of deliveries - only to fall to the very next ball as he inside edged one onto his stumps. Pretorius was at his big hitting best and quickly reached an unbeaten 59 as Stony set a huge target for the visitors on what was still a high quality batting surface.
Burton were never going to get near their target after a slow start against Stony openers Steve Bellew and Strong. But wickets were hard to come by for the home side in the early stages and they had to wait until the seventeenth over before Bellew got the ball rolling for Stony by having Daniel Bird smartly taken by keeper Praveen Chandran. 17 year old Aaron Ashton then claimed the first two of what is likely to be many Premier League wickets by having Burton’s own Aussie Damien Paul caught by Chandran for a duck. Opener Will Brewster’s 43 was impressive for Burton, but when Ashton (2-27) accounted for him the visitors were struggling and then when Strong took a fantastic reflex catch at cover to remove danger man Scott Sanders for 18, the Burton innings turned into one of survival. Stony went through the rest of Burton’s order relatively swiftly thanks to a fine spell from Ed Tate, who added to last week’s half century with 4 for 18 here. Tate removed Burton’s last two recognised batsmen in the for of George Groenwald and Luke Odell and from this point on, only one result was likely. With the ball spinning Strong turned to Bellew to come back with some left arm orthodox and he obliged with two more wickets, including that of last man Delargy, finishing with 3-22 from 16 overs. Russell White took the remaining wicket to fall in what was a very strong performance from Stony. They will have to be at their best again next week as they travel to Old Northamptonians, who’s side this week contained Northants all rounder David Willey and former Northants opener Rob White.
Stony 2nds had an easy time of it at Wellingborough Indians in Division 2. They bowled the home side out for 128 thanks largely to Steve Richardson’s 5 for 31 and then Andrew Ellemore, who blew the tail away with an impressive spell of 3 for 5. Stony got home in 35 overs without too many alarms with James Pickles unbeaten on 66 and contributions from Michael Dewhurst (21) and Nick Allen (23). Bowling performance of the week for the club came from 3rd XI stalwart Neil Fewtrell, who’s incredible spell of 6 for 3 from 5 overs undid Wellingborough 2nds for just 71. No fewer than 7 ducks were recorded by the home side, who saw their total overcome easily by Stony for the loss of three wickets, Mahesh Suthuraman’s 29 leading the visitors home. Stony 4th XI overcame Cublington 3rds by three wickets in the Four Counties League Division 6. Cublington posted 153 for 7 in their 44 overs with Oakley Young and Rishi Upadhyay both claiming three wickets apiece for Stony. Stony were struggling early on in their reply, but a fine partnership between youngster Craig Coxon (41) and veteran Steve Osborne 23 was enough to see the visitors home to a first win of the season.
Stony Stratford’s NCL Premier Division season got off to a less than ideal start away at perennial title contenders Finedon Dolben on Saturday. It was something of a strange game, not least because part of the Avenue Road ground was under water which resulted in one boundary being little over 25 yards. It was also odd because on a wet wicket which was less than ideal for batting, well over 400 runs were scored on a day when most of the bowlers struggled.
With regular Stony captain Alex Strong missing the opening game because of a holiday, Graham Simpson took over and having won the toss, sent the home side in to bat on a very wet and green surface. 50 overs later, Finedon declared on 252 for 2 with former Northants opener Ben Howgego unbeaten on a run a ball 154. Stony, who actually bowled tidily despite the score, were left to regret dropping Howgego on 6 in just the third over and then again on 60 as he’d really found his feet. He didn’t give another chance in the end as he pounced on anything loose or short and found the short boundary on a regular basis. Stony had some early success, with newcomer Jilesh Pattni finidng the edge of Andy Daniel’s bat to send the opener on his way for 8. Fellow opener Steve Bellew kept things tight but couldn’t find the breakthrough and then Howgego and Greg Evans (82) set about building what was a huge total in the conditions. Youngsters Aaron Ashton and Hayden Mullins both bowled effectively in patches, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Finedon racking up the runs.
In contrast to the Finedon batsmen, Stony’s top order just couldn’t get to grips with the wicket or the swing of Will Sneath. Sneath’s opening spell of 4-15 wrecked the Stony top order, with the visiting side finding some new and inventive ways of getting themselves out! When Bellew was out for 11, partner Ed Tate was on 0 and the score was 49 for 8 and Stony were facing humiliation. However, in the space of 45 minutes, this unusual game was once again turned on it’s head as Tate hit the accelerator and flew from 0 to 50 in less than 30 balls. He was joined by Jarrod Pretorius, batting at ten after dislocating a finger in the field earlier in the day and Pretorius was equally up for a fight. The pair put on 101 for the ninth wicket in a highly entertaining spell, and with nine overs left there was a glimmer of hope that Stony might hang on for an unlikely share of the spoils. Tate looked unlucky to perish lbw for 54, giving Sneath a well deserved fifth wicket. Last man Ashton supported Pretorius well for a few overs as he passed 50, but in the end, the youngster’s defences were broken and Stony were left well adrift on 172.
Stony will welcome back skipper Strong and young all rounder Russell White next week. Despite the one sided nature of the result, Stony dug in well at times and showed some real spirit against what is a very strong Finedon unit. But the batting in particular will need to improve quickly, beginning with the visit of Burton Latimer on Saturday.
Stony 2nds game against Brigstock at Campbell Park was called off without a ball being bowled with the ground under water on Saturday morning. The 3rd XI did play, but like the 1st XI they struggled in their opening game against Kislingbury Temperance. Kislingbury batted first and posted 167 all out, with Neil Fewtrell (3 for 38) and Russell Moore (4 for 39) bowling well on the opening day for Stony. Unfortunately, Stony weren’t able to bat as well as they bowled and fell well short of their target on 125, with only Nabeel Ahmed’s 47 giving the home side any worries.
Stony’s 4th XI rounded off a difficult opening weekend for the club with a comprehensive defeat against Little Horwood. Horwood posted 243 for 5 from 43 overs and this proved far too much for Stony who were all out for 110 in 38 overs.
After a thoroughly enjoyable Dinner & Dance on Saturday evening at the Cock Hotel (many thanks to Charlotte Bellew for all her efforts in organising the whole event!) it seems a good time to congratulate all the 2013 award winners.
The award winners are as follows:
Batsman Of The Year - Jarrod Pretorius
Bowler Of The Year - Steve Bellew
Fielder Of The Year - Jarrod Pretorius
2nd XI Player Of The Year - Aaron Ashton
3rd XI Player Of The Year - Neil Fewtrell
4th XI Player Of The Year - Craig Jolley
Sunday Player Of The Year - Glyn Lewis
Most Improved Player Of The Year - Josh Whitehead
U17's Batsman Of The Year - Hemesh Patel
U17's Bowler Of The Year - Sam Sibley
Players Player - Chris Swain
Clubman Of The Year - Rob Arnold
If any of these winners were not at the Dinner to receive their awards please contact Steve Richardson (email@example.com) to arrange collection.
In addition to the main awards, the following caps were awarded:
6 For Caps:
Again if any of the above Cap winners were not at the Dinner to receive their awards please contact Steve Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange collection.
Congratulations again to all the awards winners!