Winning start to the season for Leighton but the 2nds taste defeat

Leighton Buzzard 2nds, Tharindu Dilun Dias bowling.
Leighton Buzzard 2nds, Tharindu Dilun Dias bowling.

A massive 121-run partnership between Greg Proudfoot and Phil Whatmore ensured Leighton Buzzard Town made a winning return to Cherwell Division 2 on Saturday.

Missing out on promotion back to the top flight last season, Leighton took on Horspath 2nds, who were relegated from Division 1 last time out.

Leighton Buzzard 2nds

Leighton Buzzard 2nds

But it appeared from the early exchanges that Horspath would be a formidable team this season as they removed both Leighton openers for just six runs.

First, Tom Lights was caught behind from the bowling of Tyrone Eyles before the same man scattered Richard Raine’s stumps, leaving the visitors 6-2.

That brought Proudfoot and Whatmore to the crease though, and not only did they steady the ship, but their partnership was the basis of Leighton’s victory.

The pair spent nearly two hours together in the middle, and between them fired 15 fours and three sixes to leave Horspath toiling in the afternoon heat.

Leighton Buzzard 2nds

Leighton Buzzard 2nds

Proudfoot eventually fell having rattled off 61 runs from 76 balls, with Jehan Mohammed making the breakthrough.

Whatmore went just 15 minutes later for 64 from 84 balls. But Leighton were in a much healthier position at 141-4.

But there was still a cameo to come from Dan Scott (30), and though Jehan would go on to take 3-36, the closing partnership between Antony Francis (32 not out) and Jack Kempster (32 not out) saw the home side close on 255-6 - a distinct recovery.

Just like in the first innings though, Horspath made a terrific start, much to the frustration of Leighton.

Dominic O’Connor was the star of the show for the home side, and with Jamie Stead helped them to 43 for the opening wicket.

O’Connor comfortably top-scored for Horspath as he scored 90 from 127 balls, thanks in no large part to 16 fours, but Leighton’s bowlers were doing the business at the other end, mopping up his partners.

Alan Priestly (2-44) took care of Jehan and Stephen Green, while Francis took out O’Connor with the hosts 169-6.

Lee Selfe ended with strong figures of 2-33, while Tom Pope, having taken out Stead early on, then took thre ewickets in the Horspath tail, to finish with an excellent return of 4-49.

It meant Horspath’s total of 228 was well short of the victory mark, and saw Leighton take 25 points for their efforts on the opening day.

The result sees Leighton sit second, albeit on alphabetical order, in Division 2.

In Division 5, Leighton Buzzard 2nds were soundly beaten by newly promoted Aston Rowant 3rds at Bell Close.

Phil Barnett hit a brilliant unbeaten 112 for the visitors as they raced to 250-6 from their 50 overs.

Tharindu Dilun Dias, pictured, was the top bowler for Leighton as he picked up 3-47, but there were precious few highlights with the bat as Leighton collapsed to 122. James Raine’s 40 was the top score.