JULIAN Morris became Shipston-on-Stour’s all-time leading run-scorer as they beat Cotswold Hills League Premier Division basement boys Elmley Castle by 66 runs.
The table-topping London Road hosts amassed 275-5 before plucky Elmley were bowled out for 209.
Shipston’s solid display was dominated by a third-wicket partnership of 147 runs in 21 overs between Jack Murphy and Justin Saker.
They lost Matt Corby (9) early on lbw to Will Bailey and Morris (31) added 52 with Murphy before being bowled by Will Flower (1-64).
Morris struck a six which took him past Dave Murphy as the club’s top run-scorer with 9,317.
Jack Murphy and Saker made the visitors work hard in the field and, had it not been for fine stops, the final score would have probably passed the 300 mark.
Saker was bowled by the pick of the Elmley bowlers, Neil Cooper (2-38), having reached his highest score of 72.
The same bowler accounted for Marcus Ireland (6) in similar fashion and Jack Murphy (95) was eventually out in the 41st over, caught by Flower off Bailey (2-69). Phil Hall (14) and Jon Walker (22) added a quick unbeaten partnership of 38 from the last four overs.
In reply, the visitors’ start could hardly have been worse as Walker removed Steve Charlton and Simon Corbett, caught by Morris and wicketkeeper Tom Cox respectively, in the first over without a run on the board.
The Coopers added 24 for the third wicket before Neil (15) was caught at second slip by captain Paul Cross off Walker (3-42).
Pete Cross (15) and Simon Cooper staged a mini-recovery, adding 51 before the former was trapped lbw by the Shipston skipper. The highest Elmley partnership saw Simon Cooper and Flower add 69 runs in 14 overs until Cox smartly stumped the latter off Saker for 32.
Saker (3-49) picked up the key wicket of Simon Cooper (71) with Walker running back at first slip to hold on to a top-edged sweep for his 100th league catch.
Elmley gave up on the run chase but 200 and maximum batting points was still achievable and, thanks to a gritty 28 from Bailey and 19 by Andy Hemming, the target was reached.
Shipston were focused on maximum bowling points and this was achieved with the help of a third wicket by Saker and two from Ireland (2-34).
Finally, a mix-up between the final two batsmen resulted a run-out by Corby to end the innings on 209.
On Saturday, Shipston visit second-placed Wellesbourne, who they lead by 35 points, for a crunch clash at the top of the table.
Fourth-placed Broadway, who lost by six wickets to Exhall and Wixford, head to Long Itchington.
Division Two leaders Winchcombe slipped up with a 16-run defeat at Wellesbourne seconds.