Strollers Cricket Club entertained Brockhampton 3rd XI in their opening Marches League Division 1 encounter at Fownhope on Saturday. Having won back to back promotions, Strollers 1st XI were testing themselves at the highest level of the Marches League for the first time in their 55 year history.
Brockhampton won an important toss on a typical early season damp, slow wicket. Scoring was further hindered by a lush outfield and some tight Brockhampton bowling making it difficult for the father and son opening partnership of Leregos to score quickly.
When Rich Lerego was out in the 10th over, 28 had been added and Brockhampton seized their opportunity to tighten their grip on the game.
A third wicket partnership of 44 between Ethan Lerego and George Wood-Cole (16) steadied the Strollers’ innings but the middle order struggled to score quickly and several wickets were gifted to Brockhampton as the innings progressed.
Strollers managed to stay in the game largely down to the mature batting of young Ethan Lerego who batted for the majority of the innings to bring up a maiden club 50 and when he was finally out for 63, it was left to Alex Carter to score a quickfire 20* to lift the Strollers innings to a respectable 182-8 off the allotted 45 overs.
In reply Brockhampton put together an excellent opening partnership despite some tight Strollers bowling. When the score reached 64-0, Brockhampton appeared to be cruising to victory, however the introduction of Doug Roberts opened the game up removing both openers in quick succession. Bowling his 10 overs straight through, Roberts’s finished with figures of 2-26 maintaining an excellent off stump line throughout his spell.
Although Brockhampton rebuild their innings with a solid third wicket partnership, Alex Carter kept things tight for Strollers (0-29 off 10 overs) and when Strollers opening bowlers George Wood-Cole and Ben Boswell returned to at the death the game was still in Brockhampton’s hands despite the run rate climbing to six an over.
The game finally turned in Strollers favour in the closing overs as first Wood-Cole struck in successive balls to remove Charles (23) and Morrall and then Boswell took four late wickets, including the key wicket of Price, for 27. Whilst Brockhampton still had a chance of victory, with 25 needed off the final two overs, they opted for the losing draw and extra bonus points under pressure from the tight off spin of Paddy Tandy, closing on 171 for nine.
An excellent first win in Division 1 for Strollers who picked up 22 points. In terms of performance, Strollers will also take heart from the fact that whilst well short of their best, they fought hard to stay in the game for long periods and ultimately picked up a hard fought win.
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