Proudfoot fires Leighton back into contention

Greg Proudfoot
Greg Proudfoot

Leighton Buzzard have played themselves back into promotion contention after beating Aston Rowant by 88 runs.

Those 88 runs were exactly the number scored by Greg Proudfoot, whose innings was the highlight of the highlight of the day, while Gareth Benger’s 51 was another shining light as Leighton moved to within 39 points of promotion.

Proudfoot hit 88 for Leighton

Proudfoot hit 88 for Leighton

Despite losing Jack Kempster (14) early on, Proudfoot joined Tom Light at the crease and the pair put on 84 for the second wicket until Light was stumped for 32.

Phil Whatmore then joined Proudfoot as Leighton kept the scoreboard ticking, adding a further 40 until Whatmore fell for 19 with the score on 149-3.

Tom Scott (7) and Dan Scott (19) continued alongside Proudfoot before he fell for 88, with 12 fours and two sixes, with the score 216-6.

But Benger (51 not out), alongside Antony Francis (16) continued to pile the runs on as Leighton closed on 297-8.

Phil Whatmore at the crease for Leighton

Phil Whatmore at the crease for Leighton

Ben Knowler was the pick of the bowlers for Aston Rowant, taking 3-79, while Tom Morgan added 2-48.

The visitors made a decent start, reaching 35 before losing two quick wickets as Kempster struck twice to remove openers Tim Morgan for 20 and Chris Eaton for 9, going from 35-0 to 40-2.

Another partnership was shaping to be a big one for Aston Rowant, but once more, quick wickets stunted their progress.

They fell from 70-2 to 72-5 as Antony Francis took two wickets in five balls en route to figures of 3-63.

Their chances of victory were all but over, but a late flurry of runs for the visitors made Leighton wait it out in the heat.

Big partnerships for the seventh and eighth wicket saw Knowler hit 54 as Rowant tried to hold out for a draw. Two late wickets for Dan Scott (2-22) though helped stunt their chances of that though, bowling out the hosts for 209 - 88 runs shy.

The result keeps Leighton sixth in the standings, but now much closer to the promotion battle.

Next Saturday, Leighton travel to runaway league leaders Westbury.

There was more good news for Leighton Buzzard 2nds too as they climbed out of the Division 5 drop zone with a huge 118-run win over Horspath 3rds.

The top five batsmen all hit big runs to put the home side in charge, Alfie Ruston top-scoring with 53.

A late bowling spell from Swapnil Kulkarni saw him tear through the lower order, finishing with figures of 5-34 as Leighton were eventually bowled out for 258.

Great bowling performances from Sam Roberts (3-52) and Andy Smith (3-31) ensured Horspath would never come close to the total as they were bowled out for just 140, well short of the mark, climbing up to eighth and level on points with Cumnor 2nds above.

Next week, Leighton 2nds host mid-table Kimble at Bell Close.