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Shipston move further ahead in title race
3:00pm Thursday 26th June 2014 in Sport
LEADERS Shipston-on-Stour secured their sixth Cotswold Hills Cricket League Premier Division win of the season.
They are now 45 points clear of second-placed Leamington thirds, who slipped up with a 10-run defeat to Broadway, after triumphing at mid-table Exhall and Wixford.
Shipston scored 256-9 and then restricted the hosts to 230-7, ensuring a 26-run success from an enthralling encounter.
Batting first, the visitors raced to 48 before Matt Corby (24) was caught by Tom Simpson off Sid Keen.
Forty-eight more runs were added until Justin Saker (14) was caught by Josh Smith with Keen (2-46) again bowling.
Julian Morris and Marcus Ireland both scored 53, while Gary Betteridge (19) hit his 8,000th league run with a well-struck six off Leon Gates.
Paul Cross (20 not out) saw his side past 250 with the help of 33 by Phil Hall.
Shipston were kept in check by Barry Weston with 4-47 from nine overs alongside a wicket each for Gates, Smith and Tom Burgess.
In reply, skipper Matt Gwynne and Smith posted an opening stand of 140 in 30 overs by running quick singles and punishing loose bowling.
Just when the game looked to be slipping away from Shipston, skipper Cross got a delivery through the defence of Smith to break the stand.
Jon Walker held on at long-on to dismiss John Simpson (8) off Dave Murphy and then the vital wicket of Gwynne (91) was taken by Cross thanks to a stunning one-handed catch by Hall.
The required run-rate went up to over nine-an-over as new batsmen tried to settle in.
Perry (19) hit several sixes but was stumped by Betteridge, who had taken over the wicketkeeper gloves.
With five overs left, 57 runs were needed but the hosts still had big hitters in Scott Carmichael and Weston.
The responsibility of the bowling was given to Saker and Ireland, who both responded to the task.
Saker dismissed Dove (15) with another Walker catch and Weston went cheaply after missing a straight delivery.
Ireland had Tom Simpson caught off his first delivery and bowled his two overs for just 10 runs.
Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh prop up Division One despite the former team beating second-placed Kineton by five wickets.