Leighton Buzzard got their season off to a winning start despite a nervy two-wicket victory over Tiddington at Bell Close on Saturday.
Lee Selfe was the star of the show as he took five wickets for the home side, while Phil Whatmore’s 64 with the bat helped them to secure 25 points - enough to see them level at the top after the opening round of fixtures.
In warm sunshine the home team won the toss and decided to bowl first.
Early action was slow as the visitors seemed wary of what the pitch and the bowlers might offer.
With the score on 22 Jack Kempster knocked back the off stump of visiting skipper Johnston (2) and quickly followed this up with a successful lbw appeal against W. Goodman (4).
The introduction of Lee Selfe into the bowling attack usually means wickets and the spinner duly obliged with two wickets in his first four deliveries with Talbot (4) skying one to Sam Roberts and next delivery Max Smith (19) was caught by Adam Culley.
In the next over Culley took a tumbling catch off his own bowling to dismiss Pykett (0) and the visitors were in disarray at 41-5 off 18 overs.
Tiddington then began a fightback with a 39 run partnership between colt Chris Goodman (37) and Matt Maule (25) . The latter however was stumped by some excellent glovework from young wicket keeper Ben Smith.
The next dismissal was Tiddington’s Ben Smith (0) caught comfortably by Kempster off Selfe’s bowling . The first stoppage for rain then forced the players from the field with the score on 91-7.
On the resumption C Goodman and Johnson-Coulman(34) added 51 runs without any alarms but the players were again forced to leave the field for rain at 141-7.
The game was now a reduced overs game.
When the game resumed the visitors opted for aggression but lost their last 3 wickets for 9 runs with Sam Roberts picking up two of them. This included another excellent stumping from Leighton keeper Smith and another inevitably fell to Selfe.
Tiddington ended on 152 all out. There was another downpour as the players left the field for the tea interval which led to even more overs being lost.
Leighton’s wicket takers were Selfe 5-48, Kempster 2-29, Sam Roberts 2-32 and Culley 1-20.
The early afternoon sun had now been replaced by dull overhear conditions.
Town lost an early wicket as Antony Francis (1) edged to keeper W Goodman in the 3rd over.
However Tom Callaghan (20) and home captain Phillip Whatmore soon had the scoreboard moving along at over 5 an over. The visitors bowlers seemed to be causing little concern for the batsmen. Callaghan cut Maule for 2 boundary fours but then missed a straight delivery and was bowled.
Tom Light (17) opened up with an expansive drive for 4 off his first delivery but soon holed out to mid on off the bowling of young spinner Ben Smith as he tried to clear the field.
Dan Scott (0) was then caught at deep mid wicket without disturbing the scorers.
When Dave Roberts (6) was lbw, Town had slipped from a comfortable position to 107-5. Fortunately Whatmore was playing the essential anchor role for Leighton.
Culley (12) added a critical 33 runs with his skipper to take Town within 10 runs of victory before being lbw to Benny Madden. Whatmore soon followed , caught at slip for 64 runs which included 9 fours..When Ben Smith skied one to mid on Town had lost 3 wickets for 1 run and were 144-8 with their supporters now nervous..
It was left to Kempster (11no) and Selfe (1no) to see Town over the line at 153-8 for their first victory of the season.
For the visitors the promising young spinner Ben Smith took 5-33 .
Town get 25 points whilst Tiddington take 10.