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Park’s heroics fail to stave off defeat

THREE wickets and a swashbuckling innings from star turn Martin Park were not enough to save Exhall and Wixford as they lost out to visitors Lapworth, paying the price for some sloppy fielding.

Exhall skipper Craig Atherton won the toss and put the visitors into bat, a decision that looked to have paid off as they were reduced to 60/4 after Richard Layton had taken out the top three batsmen on his way to 3-36 from eight overs. Rob Perry also proved tough to play as he took 1-26 from his eight overs.

But Lapworth rallied as Andrew Dickinson and captain Sean Cross put on 92 for the next wicket before the latter became the first of Park’s victims on 46. Dickinson remained though, scoring 53 to help his side to 183/7 at the end of 35 overs after ten overs were lost due to earlier rain.

Action from Exhall and Wixford’s match with Lapworth on Saturday. Photo: Iain Duck
Action from Exhall and Wixford’s match with Lapworth on Saturday. Photo: Iain Duck

Park finished with 3-39 from his eight overs with Rob Perry picking up the other wicket.

With the bat, Exhall lost opener Tom Burgess early on but Julian Morris and Scott Carmichael stuck around to keep the scoreboard ticking over on their way to 36 and 33 respectively.

Some fine bowling from Cross, who took 3-14 off eight overs, stifled the home batsmen although Gabriel Thornton played sensibly for his 17. Victory seemed out of reach until Park arrived and he smashed a quick-fire 43 to edge Exhall closer to their target until he was clean bowled and his side were soon all back in the pavilion for 162.

Atherton said: “We bowled well and Rob Perry and Rich Layton did really well with the spin bowling but the fielding wasn’t the best and we probably gave them 20 runs too many which, ultimately, cost us the game.

“We were missing the captain Sam Smith and Will Green but the players who came in did what they needed to and there was some strong hitting towards the end from Martin Park who was in the firsts for the first time this season. He gave us a little bit of hope but were unable to get over the line.

“I thought we had a really strong start – we were around 60/1 off ten overs with Julian Morris and Scott Carmichael hitting it really well – but we then lost a few wickets and that cost us. Those middle overs saw them keep it tight.”

Action from Exhall and Wixford’s match with Lapworth on Saturday. Photo: Iain Duck
Action from Exhall and Wixford’s match with Lapworth on Saturday. Photo: Iain Duck

Elsewhere in the top division, Shipston leap-frogged visitors Tanworth and Camp Hill after securing a 66-run victory helped by a storming 76 off 56 balls from Marcus Ireland who also dismissed Tanworth opener Martin Perfect.

Stefan Obermeyer also put in an excellent all-round display for Shipston, scoring 44 before claiming 3-23 with Jonty Harvey and Josh Bolderston taking two wickets apiece. Aussie Ben Bryant was the pick of the Tanworth bowlers, taking 2-16 from nine overs.

Greg Ricketts was again the star for Wellesbourne as they beat visitors Long Itchington by 61 runs. He scored an unbeaten 28 before taking 4-17 to wrap up the win.

Kineton slipped down to fifth after they lost by four wickets against leaders Bretforton. Isaac Rowles (71no) and Sam Cooper (45) were among the runs for the home side but the Worcestershire outfit reached their target with three overs to spare.

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