Ley Hill show they’re top class with five wicket victory
REIGNING champions Ley Hill returned to the top of the Mid Bucks Premier on Saturday after beating pretenders to the throne Ballinger Waggoners by five wickets.
Ballinger have sat atop the table for the past couple of months while Ley Hill started their title defence slowly, but the champs showed why they cannot be written off by retaining their lofty perch in some style.
Ballinger went into the game not only top, but with the psychological advantage of having knocked Ley Hill out of the T20 Knockout Cup four days earlier.
On that occasion, the heroes were bowlers Will Reid (4-21) and Freddie Thompson (4-25), and batsmen Richard O’Kelly, whose well-made 37 included two sixes, and Max Dugdale, who hit a crucial 48, including four sixes.
But the only Ballinger hero on Saturday was groundsman Jamie Kellock, who salvaged the game by cutting and rolling a new strip after the previous wicket was saturated.
Kellock may wish he hadn’t bothered as Ballinger was bowled out for 98, having fallen to 3-2 early on and never recovered, despite the best efforts of Danny Draper, whose knock of 60 included three mighty sixes.
Fast running out of partners, Draper was ninth man out, as 86-6 fast became 98 all out for Ballinger, their last three wickets falling to consecutive deliveries.
Hope flickered briefly when two early wickets for Reid reduced Ley Hill to 23-2, followed by a third for the same player soon after. But even the late scalp of opener Craig Peterson, with a second catch for Jamie McIntyre, could only delay the inevitable, and two balls later it was all over.
Elsewhere in the Premier, Holmer Green hammered Bradenham by 173 runs, by Hawridge & Cholesbury went down by 78 runs to Aylesbury Town.
Celebrating: Reigning champions Ley Hill went back to the top of the pile despite the effiorts of Ballinger’s Danny Draper, right, who hit a valliant 60