Gritty Ash­ford top­ple lead­ers

Halls and But­ler lead charge as strug­glers find their form at last with bat and ball

Staines Informer - - SPORT - Cricket

BEDEVILLED by ill-luck and a lack of be­lief after a se­ries of de­bil­i­tat­ing losses at the higher level, Ash­ford managed to pull off a re­mark­able 69-run vic­tory against un­beaten league lead­ers Bishop’s Stort­ford.

Bat­ting first, they got off to a steady start, El­ize Brown pulling the ball strongly to find the boundary three times on her way to a quick 23. Skip­per Becky Halls was joined by Katie But­ler, and the pair saw off the best of the vis­i­tors bowl­ing, But­ler lead­ing the scor­ing as the run rate be­gan to climb.

The part­ner­ship had reached 124 when Halls was caught for a fine 70, and But­ler fell shortly after for 61, her se­cond 50 of the sea­son.

But by then the work was done and Ash­ford posted a to­tal of 182 from their 45 overs.

The league lead­ers got off to the worst pos­si­ble start in re­ply, Ash­ford bowlers Han­nah Mer­chant and Jenny Tip­pell both strik­ing in their open­ing spells. And when Gill Bon­ham took a good catch in the gully off Mer­chant, three wick­ets had fallen for just 12.

Led by Scar­lett Hughes, Bishop’s be­gan to make a re­cov­ery, but Ash­ford were not about to let them off the hook. Brown broke the part­ner­ship thanks to a good catch by Yolandi Maynier and it was Maynier her­self who got the wicket of Hughes, But­ler be­hind the stumps pulling off a sharp stump­ing.

Young Elizabeth Hack­ney bowled a test­ing spell with­out any luck but the re­quired run-rate con­tin­ued to rise as Tip­pell re­turned to pick up two more wick­ets. Ang­harad Purser joined the at­tack and soon had a wicket to her name, too. It was Mer­chant who fin­ished things off, Bon­ham tak­ing an­other catch to seal a fine Ash­ford vic­tory.

“Fi­nally, we have found some of the form which brought us such suc­cess last year,” said team spokesman Ali­son McCreedy.

“The top order de­liv­ered runs and the bowlers took wick­ets, all backed up by a strong per­for­mance in the field, catch­ing well, and chas­ing down ev­ery ball.

“With all but one of our re­main­ing matches at home, we will be hop­ing that this marks the turn­ing point of the sea­son, and Short Lane will see some more mem­o­rable games.”

Pic­ture: Ali­son McCreedy.

Halls: On her way to a fine 70.

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