Shipston poised to claim the title

Shipston poised to claim the title

Shipston poised to claim the title

First published in Sport

SHIPSTON-on-Stour can clinch the John Shepherd Cotswold Hills Cricket League Premier Division title this weekend.

The leaders visit lowly Catherine de Barnes on Saturday (1.30pm) for their penultimate match boasting a 28-point advantage over Wellesbourne.

Shipston could have wrapped the championship up already but lost by four wickets to Leamington thirds at London Road.

The hosts were dismissed for 199 in the 45th over with mid-table Leamington replying with 200-6.

Acting skipper Matt Corby won the toss and elected to bat but scored just four before providing an easy catch in the fifth over.

Julian Morris (38) and Jack Murphy benefited from spilt chances but Will Field was rewarded when the former edged onto his stumps. Justin Saker and Murphy batted and ran well for a third-wicket partnership of 90.

But Matt Davison bowled Murphy (45) and conceded just six runs in five overs.

Jake Salmon allowed just 19 runs in seven tight overs to put pressure on the middle order.

Field (4-47) returned to tease Saker (57) into a cut that was snaffled by Davison at point.

At 160-4 with 11 overs left, a total of at least 225 could have been achieved but good bowling and indifferent batting saw the score fall to 199.

Only Gary Betteridge (18) reached double figures of the last seven in the batting order.

A 73-run opening stand between Joseph Somra and Rob Ainscow from 20 overs set the visitors on their way.

Saker made the breakthrough with Corby catching Ainscow (37).

Dave Murphy (1-24) got through the defences of Somra (40).

At 98-2 from 27 overs, the game was interestingly poised.

David Lord drew on his experience to play a vital innings with the impressive Jake Salmon.

The pair took the visitors to 177 with six overs left and victory seemingly assured.

But Saker (2-44) returned to dismiss Lord (37) and an exciting climax ensued.

Marcus Ireland bowled Salmon (36) and at 179-5 nerves were jangling.

Ireland (3-28) also dismissed Dave Hawkes (8) and nine runs were still needed off two overs.

But Matt Dale (7) and Mark Sellars (7) secured a deserved win with four balls left and recorded the double over Shipston.

Elmley Castle kept their slim hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier Division alive.

The basement boys beat third-from-bottom Catherine de Barnes by 79 runs at home after dismissing them for 73 in reply to 152 all out.

Elmley are now 30 points off their opponents but with only two fixtures left — at high-flying Exhall and Wixford on Saturday and at home to relegation rivals Long Itchington on August 30.

Bretforton have slipped down to fourth-from-bottom after a seven-wicket thrashing at Earlswood on being bowled out for 79.

Broadway are just above following a heavy 116-run defeat at Wellesbourne.

Bretforton host Broadway on Saturday.

Ashton-under-Hill continued their Division One revival with a 171-run thrashing of bottom-of-the-table Moreton-in-Marsh.

The villagers, who are now fourth, amassed 264-7 before dismissing their hosts for 93.

Bidford-on-Avon were crowned champions after a 134-run hammering of Kineton.

Badsey remain in relegation danger in Division Two.

The third-from-bottom side, who are 21 points off the drop-zone, collapsed to 53 all out in a nine-wicket loss to leaders Kenilworth Wardens thirds.

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