Whatmore’s century guides Leighton to victory in the Cup

Phil Whatmore
Phil Whatmore

Leighton Buzzard kicked off their 2017 campaign on Sunday with a high scoring 5 run win over Home Counties Premier league team Oxford at Bell Close.

Leighton were big underdogs coming into the game with the opponents three divisions above them.

On a sunny day on what looked like ideal batting conditions Oxford won the toss and decided to put Leighton into bat.

Leighton openers Phil Whatmore and Tom Light started their innings in aggressive fashion taking advantage of some loose bowling to bring up the 50 in only the 6th over of the match.

Light then fell for 18 with the score on 74 which brought Dan Scott to the wicket. He in partnership with Whatmore hit the ball to all part on the ground consistently scoring at seven runs per over.

Whatmore was in particularly destructive form hitting the ball to the boundary almost at will bringing up a magnificent 100 at better than a run per ball. Scott wasn’t far behind him bringing up his own personal 50 soon after.

The partnership was eventually ended on 214 when Whatmore fell for 170 off 129 balls comprising on 28 fours and 1 6 one of the best innings ever witnessed at Bell Close. Scott carried on the run scoring in partnership with Alfie Rushton (25) and was eventually dismissed for in the last few overs of the innings for a well-made 86 as Leighton closed their innings on 348-4.

Oxfords reply began in similar fashion with the openers putting on 112 for the first wicket in quick time before the partnership was broken by Alan Priestley.

They continued to keep up with required rate with Leighton’s bowlers struggling to restrict the flow of runs in the batsman friendly conditions.

Lee Selfe was then brought into the attack and took two quick wickets to reduce the visitors to 133-3.

This brought the Oxford captain Barrett to the crease who took about the bowling clearing the boundary with regularity not helped by Leighton fielding who dropped the batman on three occasions.

He was eventually dismissed in the penultimate over for 129 to give them a chance of an unlikely victory.

All this meant was that Oxford required 12 off the last over but Tom Pope making his debut for Town held his nerve delivering an excellent over to restrict Oxford to 343, meaning Leighton ran out five run winners.

Lee Selfe ending up take three wickets and Priestley’s figures of 1-34 off his 9 overs was extremely economical in the context of the game.