Leighton Buzzard made a losing start to life in Cherwell League Division 2 on Saturday as they went down to Bledlow Village by 27 runs.
After their midtable finish last summer, Leighton will be eyeing a return to the top flight this season, but coming up against a Bledlow side who narrowly missed out on promotion last year was a tough start to the campaign.
Leighton won the toss, and elected for the visitors to bat first, and it appeared it was the right decision when they took the opening wicket.
Opening bowler Tom Pope was made the first break through, taking out Matthew Bolton for just three runs as Bledlow were 12-1.
While James Basu and Harry Bartlett were able to put a few runs on the board for Bledlow, they were unable to score off Leighton bowler Anthony Francis. He finished with remarkable figures of 10 overs, three maidens 1-8. And his single wicket was that of Basu for 16 with Bledlow on 42-2.
Basu’s departure though brought to the crease Will Woodward, who would go on to hit the innings of the afternoon.
Barlett returned to the pavilion after scoring 23 and Bledlow on 93-3, removed by Lee Selfe, while Olly Woodward would not last long, removed for 1, trapped LBW by Dan Scott. with the score 103-4.
Tom Moore though, joining Will Woodward at the crease, would help guide the visitors to a decent middle order recovery, putting on a partnership of 51.
Much of the hitting though was done by Woodward, but he fell just eight runs shy of an opening day century, bowled by Jack Kempster with the score 165-5.
Moore was doing his level best to hold up one end, but partners quickly came and went. Charlie Downes (22) was the mainstay, while Martin Bloomfield (0) wasn’t long for the middle before Moore eventually well for 44, with the scoreboard reading 213-8.
Alex Ross’ run-out in the final ball of the innings saw Bledlow setting 238-9, with Gareth Benger taking 2-41, with Dan Scott 2-44 the leading wicket takers.
The response, like the first innings, saw an early wicket fall when Scott was removed by Bartlett for just six, and the Leighton board reading 9-1.
An excellent partnership followed though, with Leighton putting on 89 for the second wicket as Greg Proudfoot (48) and Tom Light (43) guided the side to 98 before Proudfoot departed.
Phil Whatmore arrived at the crease and continued Leighton on the path, hitting a mighty 62 from 61 balls, including two maximums.
Despite short stays at the crease for Bertie Barrett (1), Kempster (12) and Benger (0), Leighton were still in decent shape to take victory at 204-8.
But their lower order followed suit when losing Lee Selfe for 1 and Tom Pope for 3, leaving them 211 all out, 27 runs shy of the mark.
The result, although a defeat, sees Leighton pick up 11 points. Next Saturday, Leighton travel to Aston Rowant 2nds.
Leighton Buzzard 2nds suffered a poor start to their Division 5 campaign though, suffering a comprehensive thumping at the hands of Didcot 2nds.
The hosts put a healthy looking 239-9 on the board, but needn’t have worried much as they made light work of Leighton, bowling them out for just 65 for a comfortable 174 run win.
Leighton picked up six points for their efforts and sit second from bottom of the table.
Leighton 2nds host Aston Rowant 3rds next Saturday at Bell Close.