Shipston get the better of rivals Wellesbourne
Cotswold Hills League, Premier Division
Shipston-on-Stour won by six runs
A CRUCIAL 75-run stand between captain Tom Cox and Marcus Ireland inspired Shipston-on-Stour to a narrow six-run victory over local rivals Wellesbourne at a glorious London Road on Saturday.
Bourne won the previous meeting back in June and looked like securing a league double when Noah Rose (4-45) dismissed Julian Morris and Jack Murphy for ducks in quick succession.
Thomas Stephenson (3-27) then had Simon Willey (16) caught before John Edden (1-33) removed danger man Matt Corby for just 28, as Shipston slumped to 53-4.
Gary Betteridge (13) was next to depart, caught by Sean Hopwood off the bowling of Stephenson.
With the score at 72-5, Wellesbourne were closing in on removing their hosts for a well below-par score, but Ireland and Cox had other ideas.
Once Paul Cross was removed for 18, Ireland and skipper Cox produced a vital 75-run stand for the seventh wicket, with both playing tremendous shots in the blistering heat and finding the boundary at will.
Cox (38), who had earlier survived a stumping appeal, was eventually removed by Rose, who then sent Ireland (59) back to the pavilion after he was contentiously caught behind by wicket-keeper David Barnett.
Mick Pyne then departed without scoring, clean bowled by Jamie Maynard (1-36) as Shipston closed their innings on a satisfactory 193-9.
In reply Wellesbourne got off to a fantastic start, with openers Hopwood (65) and Maynard (50) putting on 93 runs for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed by David Pyne (1-28).
Travis Butcher then departed for a quick-fire 13 to leave Wellesbourne at 113-2.
Needing just 81 runs to win, Hopwood and Tommy Wheeler set about bringing the visitors closer to victory.
The pair put on 47 runs for the third wicket before Wheeler (13) was caught behind by Cox off the bowling of Julian Morris (2-20).
Morris then bagged the key wicket of Hopwood just 13 runs later, with the Bourne opener departing for a well-earned 65.
John Edden (10) was then ran out to leave Bourne at 178-5, needing just 16 runs to clinch victory.
However, Rose (2 not out) and Barnett (8no) found runs hard to come by as the visitors fell just short on 187-5 from their allotted 45 overs.
Shipston bring the curtain down on the season with a trip to champions Exhall & Wixford on Saturday while Wellesbourne host relegated Alcester & Ragley (both 1.30pm starts).