Bolly bounce back to widen gap at the top

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FOL­LOW­ING last week’s nar­row away draw to Up­ton, where Bolling­ton bounced back with vic­tory against fel­low league fron­trun­ners Widnes.

With both teams eye­ing the top of the league ta­ble, a win for ei­ther would ce­ment their place as pro­mo­tion con­tenders as we ap­proach a third of the way through the sea­son.

With the pitch look­ing ex­tremely favourable for the bat­ting sides, Widnes won the toss and elected to bat.

Bolling­ton were the team who started the strong­est and en­forced early pres­sure on to the bat­ting side from ball one.

With the overs and runs scored level with 10 gone, the league’s lead­ing wicket taker Sabir Mal­lie struck, bowl­ing Widnes open­ing bats­men Matt Burns for two.

Mal­lie and Ja­hangir con­tin­ued to frus­trate the Widnes bats­men with some tight bowl­ing which re­stricted them to 50-1 at the first drinks break.

Widnes’s bats­men started to gather some mo­men­tum with McCoy and Kirby see­ing their part­ner­ship pass 50.

Bolling­ton spurned sev­eral chances in the field be­fore Stu­art Plant (1-58) dis­missed the dan­ger­ous McCoy for 40 af­ter some fine glove work by Ged Mcker­nan.

A fur­ther 30 runs were added to the score be­fore Mal­lie bowled Kirby for 44, see­ing the score at 100-3 with 17 over re­main­ing in the Widnes in­nings.

A fur­ther two use­ful part­ner­ships saw Widnes’ score in­crease to 134 be­fore a fab­u­lous low catch in the cov­ers by Rick Hough off the bowl­ing of Mal­lie and a run out by Plant saw the scores at 152-5 with 10 overs to go.

Widnes’ lower or­der came out with their bats swing­ing hop­ing for some late runs. How­ever, Mal­lie and Hors­field bowled an eco­nom­i­cal and re­ward­ing fi­nal 10 overs, see­ing Mal­lie take a fur­ther two wick­ets which gave him fi­nal fig­ures of 5-63 off 20 overs.

Hors­field (2-27) also bowled a tight fi­nal spell, bowl­ing two and run­ning out the last bats­man to re­strict Widnes to 181 off their 50 overs.

Bolling­ton started well in their re­sponse with Tom Bar­rass hit­ting early suc­ces­sive bound­aries along­side Hough.

Bolling­ton lost the wicket of Bar­rass for 13 af­ter be­ing bowled by Widnes over­seas am­a­teur James Men­zies, which left Bolling­ton 33-1.

Mal­lie was next to the crease and looked to put Bolling­ton back on track.

A change in for­tune for the Widnes bowl­ing at­tack saw the re­moval of the two dan­ger men, with Hough out for 39 off the bowl­ing of Camp­bell and the fol­low­ing over saw Singh bowl Mal­lie for 18 leav­ing Bolling­ton in a vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion at 79-3.

Plant and Hors­field were next to the crease and looked to sta­bilise the in­nings and put Bolling­ton back on track to vic­tory.

How­ever, Men­zies had other ideas, cre­at­ing a tor­rid at­mos­phere for the in­com­ing bats­men.

The pres­sure soon be­came too much as Men­zies dis­missed Hors­field for two and Kir­ton with­out scor­ing, leav­ing Bolling­ton at 89-5 with Plant the only bats­men dig­ging his heels in for the vis­it­ing side.

Con­fi­dence was ris­ing amongst the Widnes team as they could taste vic­tory with a col­laps­ing Bolling­ton mid­dle or­der in their sights.

How­ever, Plant had other ideas and con­tin­ued to keep the score board tick­ing over.

Hen­shall scored a vi­tally im­por­tant 10 be­fore be­ing bowl by Men­zies which left Bolling­ton need­ing 67 with just three bats­men re­main­ing.

A part­ner­ship be­tween Plant and Ja­hangir took Bolling­ton to within a whisker of the re­quired to­tal be­fore Plant was caught in the gul­ley of the bowl­ing of Men­zies for a cru­cial 33.

Ja­hangir put in a tremen­dous bat­ting per­for­mance to score 43 off as many balls along­side Pater­son (10*) who helped carry Bolling­ton home with just two overs re­main­ing.

The win saw them ex­tend their lead at the top of the ta­ble to 27 points over sec­ond-placed War­ring­ton.

Bolling­ton welcome Brook­lands to the recre­ation ground on Satur­day and hope to register their eighth win of the sea­son.

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