A lot of positives were taken from Itchingtons trip to title contenders Norton Lindsey as the visitors once again showed glimmers of how good they can really be.
Captain Clarke won the toss and put the home team into bat. The returning Wood and other opener Aulakh showed why they are arguably one of the best opening bowling partnerships in the league by dismissing both Norton openers early on. Norton looked in trouble but Norton’s skipper, James Pyatt hung around for a while hitting anything lose before a superb one handed catch from Andy Wood sent him back to the hutch.
Itchington with the tails up kept taking wickets and restricting the runs. Clarke decided it was best to take pace off the ball and bowlers Rajalingham and Jack showed their class by bowling 14 overs for only 37 runs. The main talking point of the day though was Itchington’s secret bowler Franks who is starting to get a name for himself as he is playing a big part with the ball. His 5.1 overs helped Itchington bowl the hosts out for 191 with an over to spare.
A fantastic tea was taken and Clarke praised the effort of every single player as this was by far the best fielding performance of the season.
Due to Roger Eadon not playing Alex Jack had a new opening partner in Ryan Desai and they got Itchington off to a good start until Desai (7)was trapped LBW with the score on 35 in the tenth over.
John Lidster (9) and Tom Perks (5) went soon after but Premier League debutant Cooper showed his class. Alex Jack looked once again in good form before being caught for 23. Clarke joined Copper at the crease with the score on 70 in 18th. These two tried to keep the score ticking over against Andy Dewer. Cooper looked in great touch by working the field and punishing anything loose from the Norton attack. Momentum swinging in Itchingtons favour and Norton starting to panic but then suddenly they got the breakthrough by Dewer having Cooper stumped for a well crafted 32.
Clarke remained at the other end and showed his experience by playing sensibly and keeping Itchington in with a chance of winning the game. Another couple of wickets fell but then Norton got the wicket they wanted with Clarke mistiming one straight to mid-wicket for 29.
Itchington on 154-6 with Aulakh and Wood at the crease. Itchington still confident that an upset was on the cards but sadly Itchington fell short and were bowled out for 177.
A good competitive game of cricket was played against a good Norton side. Clarke knows that if Itchington show the same level of enthusiasm and gain a bit more belief then they will be on the winning side of these tight games.
A special mention must also go to Rajalingham who had to make adjustments to his day after being called up to the first team at 11:30. Once again he showed his class by bowling 7/0/24/1.
Rajalingham – 7-0-24-1
Wood – 10-1-43-2
Zach Aulach – 8-1-54-2
Jack – 7-1-13-1
Rawbone – 6 -0-36-2
Jack – 23
Itchington host Exhall and Wixford next week (8th July)