CRICKET: NORTON Lindsey and Wolverton continued their challenge for the Cotswold Hills Premier Division title with another clinical home display.
Former pace-setters Leek Wootton fell victim to Lindsey’s strong run-of-form, leaving Norton just 12 points behind leaders Wellesbourne with four games to play.
Following a delayed start, the visitors won the toss and asked Norton to bat first.
With the game reduced to 43 overs, openers Martin Perfect and Gavin Shephard took full advantage and raced to 73 off the first 13 overs.
When Perfect (18) was dismissed lbw, this brought Stuart Shephard (55) out to the middle to join his brother.
Over the next 16 overs, the pair put on 121 runs between them until the number three became the second of Allison’s five wickets.
Gavin Shephard then passed his century for the second week running before finishing on 110, which included eighteen boundaries.
From 223/4, Steve Rushton hammered a brisk 36 to keep the score ticking. But after his dismissal, only 27 runs were added in the final seven overs for the loss of three more wickets.
At tea, Leek Wootton found themselves facing a target of 282 off 43 overs, despite an impressive spell by Mike Allison (49/5).
Allison’s day then went downhill immediately as he was dismissed by Glenn Lacey for a duck at the beginning of the third over.
The reply was in further trouble when Steve Webber removed the other opener just nine balls later.
Ian Somerville (17) came out fighting, but he became Webber’s second victim soon after, leaving Wootton struggling on 30/3.
Stuart Budd (34), Ian Cox (23), and Graeme Couchman (36) achieved some sort of recovery in the middle order. But once they were dismissed, the innings faded away.
Simon Charlton (19*) was left stranded as Wootton were dismissed for 168 in the 40th over, a figure that was flattered by 37 extras, with Norton handing the visitors four extra overs.
The wickets were shared amongst all the bowlers, but Glen Lacy and Joe Fisher were the most successful, each taking three.
This weekend sees the 1st XI with a potentially tricky fixture against Tanworth & Camp Hill, who are unbeaten in their last five games.
Norton’s 2nd XI visited Ebrington in the search for points to consolidate their promotion hunt in Division Three.
Skipper Dan Fell won the toss and asked the hosts to bat.
Late arrivals meant Norton took advantage of a reshuffled XI as Ebrington were quickly reduced to 34/5 at the end of the 11th over.
But the arrival of Harry Righton and Dave Cross at the wicket signaled the start of a recovery for the host team, with Baker being dispatched for 52 off his final four overs.
The departure of Cross (29) brought skipper Josh Collins out and the game started to go away from Norton.
Tea was taken early as a fierce thunderstorm threatened the game, Ebrington ending on 205.
Chasing a rain-reduced total, skipper Fell and Ian Baber were all set to push for a win when another heavy storm arrived over the ground, and play was abandoned with the score on ten.
Norton play run-away leaders Dorridge and Hockley Heath next weekend, which promises to be a challenging fixture.