26/05/12Atherstone suffered a second straight Warwickshire League defeat in a low-scoring Division One clash at Southam.The Ratcliffe Road side lost by six wickets.A pitch bathed in sunshine promised favourable conditions for the batsmen but the Southam skipper’s decision to insert Atherstone suggested a bit of promise for the home bowlers – and so it proved on a slow, low wicket.Southam, only denied promotion to the Premier Division last season because they did not have a third team, dismissed Atherstone for just 117 with Tom Wilkins claiming 5-22.Billy Rathbone and Asim Sohail both progressed into their 20s, but the Atherstone innings needed someone to stick around as stand-in skipper Jack Smith admitted: “We needed someone to get in and stay in as we knew we needed to get up towards the 150 mark.”That proved to be a prophetic statement as Southam did exactly that and dug in. They were still to lose a wicket and in cruise control when drinks were taken after 17 overs.Smith then introduced a spin attack of Callum Wordsworth and Irfan Khan and they picked up the four wickets to fall between them, but Southam eased to victory with 14 overs to spare.Atherstone seconds took seven precious points from a losing draw against Lyndworth at Ratcliffe Road. The visitors took full advantage of the excellent wicket to bat after winning the toss and reached 230-4 as the bowlers found it tough going.Their cause was not helped by conceding 40 extras and a couple of dropped catches in a sloppy performance in the field which ruined the target of keeping Lyndworth below the 200 mark.Atherstone, determined to erase the memory of a heavy loss at Castle Bromwich, dug in early on in their reply and were at 33-0 after 10 overs.Then Simon Grayson took centre-stage with an excellent innings and he looked set for a century until being run out on 82 as the reply tailed off at 174-8.Skipper Ger (crrct) Thomas said: “Simon was in great nick and we just needed someone to stay there with him and I think we would have won the game. Being run out was probably the only way they would have got him out.“But the batters certainly applied themselves a lot better this week and that is a platform which we want to build on.”Atherstone thirds suffered an agonising four-run home defeat against Lordswood. The visitors batted first and were bowled out for 114 with slow right-armer Kieran Bowerbank taking five wickets, including three victims in one over, but not quite a hat-trick.The Atherstone reply failed to ignite early on and they found themselves at 59-8 with Rob Smith offering the only hope as the No.5 batsman showed grit and determination to make his way towards a half-century.But, unfortunately, he ran out of partners and was left unbeaten on 42 as Atherstone were all out for 110, just four runs short of the target.
Jubilant Atherstone took advantage of a baffling decision by opponents Old Edwardians to launch their Warwickshire League Division One campaign with a victory.
The Ratcliffe Road side ground out a three-wicket win away at the Birmingham club to give them just the start they wanted as they attempt to regain their Premier League status at the first time of asking.
After a fortnight’s delay to the start of the season through bad weather, Atherstone skipper Drew Parker admitted he was surprised when his opposite number opted to bat first on a damp pitch.
“I thought when they won the toss that they would put us in because the pitch was very wet, but we were certainly not complaining when they chose to bat first,” said Parker.
Old Eds made a steady enough start, helped by a couple of dropped catches, and were 30-1 when leg-spinner Irfan Khan changed the complete nature of the game.
Khan, making his league debut for the Ratcliffe Road side, was brought into the attack and took seven wickets for 48 runs with Faisal Riaz taking two wickets with the first two balls of his second spell as the home side were bowled out for 111 in 41.2 overs.
Khan also had an impact with the bat as he steered the club to victory after coming in with the Atherstone reply stuttering at 78-7, opener Jack Smith making a useful 34.
Skipper Parker provided the support at the other end as Khan showed a good head for shot selection with an unbeaten 23 as Atherstone reached 114-7 in the 46th over to claim maximum points.
Ring-rustiness certainly affected Atherstone seconds in their opening league encounter as they suffered a crushing 175-run home defeat to newly-promoted Massey Ferguson.
The Coventry side were put into bat and made 199, but at one stage they were 60-5 after opening bowler Matt Sworowski (4-52) produced some fireworks at Ratcliffe Road. Alisham top-scored for Masseys with 64.
In reply, Atherstone slumped to 24 all out in 18.2 overs and had little answer to left-armer Waseem, last season’s leading wicket-taker in Division Two, who returned figures of eight wickets for just five runs.
The third team were involved in a low-scoring game, also at Ratcliffe Road, against Solihull Blossomfield and ended up losing by two wickets.
Put into bat by their opponents, Atherstone slipped to 12-5 before Jim Wallbank and Lewis Wrigley featured in a partnership of 62 with Wallbank making a useful half-century.
It took the Atherstone total to 85 all out from 24 overs with Loqman taking 5-9 off seven overs for the Solihull side.
Wickets continued to tumble in the Solihull reply as they teetered at 30-5 before Lukeman, batting at No.7, produced a defiant knock of 40 to steer his side home at 87-8. Wrigley was the pick of the Atherstone bowlers with 3-11.
Atherstone Under-15s, beaten in the play-off final of last season’s Millennium League, launched their new campaign with victory at Austrey on Monday night.
The home side batted first and made 89 off 18 overs with Daniel Shakeshaft (20) and Seb Allen (18) the leading run-scorers.
Lewis Wrigley claimed 2-6 for Atherstone and Will Evans took the vital wicket of Allen, but it was off-spinner Rahul Trivedi who finished off the Austrey tail with three wickets for no runs conceded off the final over.
In reply, Atherstone were pegged back early on and, after 12 overs, they still needed 37 to win with Harry Vaughan making 21.
That became 17 off the last 12 balls and 10 off the final over before Wrigley intervened. with a four and a six to win the game with two deliveries to spell in a grandstand finish to a competitive game involving lads from both sides who are classmates at Twycross.
Atherstone Under-11s were also in action on Monday night, with a Warwickshire League clash at home to Wolvey.
They won by 51 runs with Richard Austin-Bailey batting well in their total of 278 with Jo Privett bowling a tight, accurate spell in the Wolvey total of 227.