Norton Lindsey seal top-flight promotion

Norton Lindsey & Wolverton sealed promotion to the Premier Division of the Cotswold Hills League on Saturday with a seven-wicket victory over visitors Long Itchington.

Batting first, Long Itchington were restricted to 177 for six from their 45 overs, with Will Grindal (44) and James Clarke (57 not out) the main contributors.

Richard Pozzi then provided the backbone to Norton Lindsey’s run-chase, batting through for an unbeaten 67.

Vice-captain David Currall made fifty, while Edward Melly and Sunny Singh-Nijjar both got into the twenties, leaving Eian Marillier to seal Norton Lindsey’s elevation to the top tier in style with a six.

An outstanding 113-run fourth-wicket partnership between Nathan Edwards and Dave Barnett propelled Wellesbourne to a five-wicket win over Exhall & Wixford to maintain their Premier Division title push.

After being reduced to 51 for three, Exhall rebuilt their innings through Jon Byrd and Steve Kerby who played some fine shots in a partnership of 88 until Kerby was well caught at square leg by Harry Jackman off Tommy Wheeler for 46.

Skipper Simon Hollands then joined Byrd and these two kept the momentum going before Byrd was caught by Darren Mole off Nathan Edwards for a fine 57 with the score on 165 for five.

Jon Simpson and Hollands took the score to 208 before Jamie Maynard bowled Simpson for 22 and four runs later Hollands (21) skied a catch to Gary Maynard off Tom Stephenson.

Kish Patel was then trapped lbw by Stephenson for 11 and the same bowler had Steve Keen caught by Gary Maynard off the last ball of the innings as Exhall finished on a respectable 227 for nine.

Stephenson, with three for 42, was the pick of the bowlers.

Bourne’s innings got off to a promising start with Gary Maynard and Wheeler putting on 71 for the first wicket before Wheeler was caught by Byrd off Simpson for 26 and Kerby trapped Maynard lbw next ball for 32.

Seven runs later, Kerby bowled Jamie Maynard and Exhall were beginning to look the more likely victors.

However, Edwards and Barnett had other ideas and both showed their attacking intent in a century-plus alliance before Edwards, trying one hit too many, was caught by Patel off Byrd for an excellent 53.

Tom Shearsby (17 not out) then joined Barnett (73) and these two took Bourne to within three runs of their target before Mole saw them over the line.

Rowington gained an excellent 109-run win at Division Two leaders Catherine-de-Barnes to leave them dreaming about what might have been in a weather-blighted campaign.

A workmanlike opening partnership from Tommy Williams (32) and Matt Page set the platform for Scott Rogers to add impetus, with the Rowington skipper scoring 104 as his side finished on 237 for six, adding 107 with Clive Haywood (33).

Catney were never in the hunt in reply, slumping to 68 for five before a battling 55 from Dan Haywood lifted the league leaders to 128 all out at the close.