Cricket: Kempster sees Leighton to narrow win over Bletchley
LEIGHTON Buzzard made the short journey to Manor Fields on Saturday to play Division One basement boys Bletchley Town.
This was an important game for Leighton who without a win in their last five games and were looking to return to winning ways, while bottom of the table Bletchley were looking for victory to begin to haul themselves away from the relegation zone. A tight encounter was anticipated, and that was just how it transpired.
For the sixth successive Saturday, Town lost the toss and, to everyone’s surprise, the home decided to bowl in spite of the very hot playing conditions.
The visitors made a cautious start against opening bowler Mark Roberts, who bowled accurately giving opening batsmen Tom Light and Chris Thompson little to attack.
Roberts only conceded 13 runs in his first 10 overs, but Town did attack the other opening bowler James Sprittles who went for 36 runs in four overs.
Thompson (32) was causing most of the damage as he hit four 4s and a big 6 over square leg off Sprittles, before hitting one straight back at the bowler and was caught.
Light (16) soon followed and when Kirk Brazier (3) was caught in the gully, Leighton had slumped to 57-3 off 20 overs.
With Roberts continuing his mean spell and spinner Graham Simpson bowling a string of maidens, Leighton’s middle order struggled to get the ball off the square. Runs came painfully slowly, as Dan Scott (26) kept one end in tact with wickets continuing to fall.
With four overs remaining, Town had crawled to 129-9. Jack Kempster then took control and smashed three successive 6s off Sprittles in an over which yielded 21 runs.
Number 11 Alan Priestley got in on the act to hit two excellent boundary 4s and the last wicket added 40 vital runs before Priestley was bowled off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Kempster ended on 45 not out with Leighton scoring 169 all out. Sprittles took 5-83 and James Clark 3-28 for the home side.
In comparison to the visitors, Bletchley then set off like a train, running every time they hit the ball.
Paul Strong (8) was the first to be dismissed with a superb diving catch by Sam Janes at second slip – two handed and low to his right off Kempster’s fine bowling.
Under 17 Bucks County player Shepherd was showing some excellent form with a series of boundaries and by the seventh over Bletchley had raced to 50 runs and were looking confident.
Shepherd (29) then lofted one to Brazier at deep mid-off, Lall (7) was caught by keeper Tim O’Leary, and Simpson (2) was leg before wicket as the home side were in trouble at 58-4, with Kempster taking all four.
There were then a couple of spirited partnerships worth 27 and 41 runs which brought Bletchley back into contention at 126-5 with 10 overs remaining.
But unfortunately for the home side, Sprittles (28) was then run out by Phil Whatmore with a direct hit from square leg and Kempster returned to bowl his second spell and took the wickets of Clark (11) and Grass (7) to put Leighton back in control.
Scott bowled Roberts (4) and when Whatmore ran out Chapman (4) the hosts had been bowled out for 159, which was 10 runs short of their target.
For Leighton, Kempster returned excellent bowling figures of 6-45 and Scott took 2-16. Town get 25 points to move them up the table to fifth place whilst Bletchley get seven points and stay in the danger zone.
>> Great Brickhill were lucky to hold on for a draw against Banbury 2nds after a superb bowling display.
Batting first, Banbury posted 199-9, with Garth Davson returning 4-41 and Doug Aris 3-55.
And Brickhill will have fancied their chances at the break, but were in for a hard time with the bat in hand.
Banbury’s bowlers took the attack to the visitors, restricting their scoring opportunities.
Wickets fell regularly along the way, with runs coming at a premium. By the end, Brickhill were still in double figures, scoring just 98 runs for the loss of eight wickets.(15) caught by Gareth Benger, but there followed a stand worth 158 runs between Picknett (158) and Hall (60) before the latter was bowled by Sam Roberts.
Andy Smith then had Nash (13) stumped by Dave Roberts before the same combination removed Picknett before the visitors closed their innings.
Leighton started badly losing Gates (0), Bishop (0) and Mistry (4) all in the first three overs.
The only partnership of any real substance was between Tom Callaghan (33) and Dave Roberts (58) worth 93 runs.
Simon Halhead (14 not out) made it into double figures but Town’s effort closed on 149 from 38 overs giving them just three points for their efforts.
More cricket in this week’s LBO
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Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: South west