After five consecutive defeats, Leighton Buzzard eased their relegation fears with a much needed win over Cropredy on Saturday, thanks in no large part to Phil Whatmore.
The batsman scored a brilliant 112 from 147 deliveries as he arrived at the crease much earlier than he would have liked batting at number four.
His partnership with Jack Kempster, who went on to score 61, helped Leighton back on course to claim the 61-run win.
The result means Leighton climb out of the drop zone and now sit seventh in Cherwell League Division 2.
Leighton began the day sitting second from bottom of the pile, desperately seeking a win to get them out of the relegation zone. But two quick wickets early in their innings threatened to put their chances of victory on hold for another week as Tom Light (15) was joined by Greg Proudfoot (0) with the score reading 29-2. But the arrival of Whatmore at the crease saw the innings take a turn in Leighton’s favour.
Batting alongside Kempster, the pair put 106 on the board, with Kempster hitting 11 fours on his way to 61 before falling to Harry Walters. At 135-3, the score looked back on Leighton’s side.
Whatmore continued to pile on the runs though, passing his half century. But Dan Scott (10) and Mark Burfoot (11) were not long at the crease, with the score reaching 162-5.
Joined by Gareth Benger, Whatmore continued to score big, with the pair putting on 53 before Benger fell for 17.
The runs kept on coming for Whatmore as he eventually passed his century mark before losing his wicket for 112 and Leighton on 249-8. His score was made up with nine fours and seven maximums as Leighton would eventually settle on 265-8.
Leighton made the perfect start to the reply, as Jack Kempster removed Saim Hussain (4) early on.
Brad Ward would prove to be a thorn in Leighton’s side as he held on for a dogged 55, but those around him failed to stick around at the crease.
Lee Selfe was the pick of the bowlers for the home side, taking 4-68 as the visitors failed to put big runs on the board, skittled for 204.
Next week, Leighton travel to bottom club Sandford St Martin.
Leighton 2nds climbed off the bottom of Division 5 with a surprise win over leaders Cropredy 2nds.
Riaan Krynauw was the star with both bat and ball for Leighton, first taking 4-38 as Cropredy were all out for 180. James Aldridge also chipped in with 4-57. Krynauw then went on to top-score with an unbeaten 69 as Leighton (182-6) won by four wickets.
They host Kingston Bagpuize next Saturday.