Saints just short against Nuneaton

Saints 1st XI fell to their first defeat in four games after a tight encounter at Clarence Road, finishing just 15 runs short of the target set by visitors Nuneaton.

For the second consecutive week skipper Jon Hipkiss won the toss and decided to have a bowl, in hope of utilising the overhead conditions and building on the dominant bowling display which blew away Olton a week earlier.

However, the Nuneaton openers had other ideas and quickly raced to an opening stand of 50 before Stefan Van Dyk (2-47) was introduced into the attack and struck, taking two wickets in consecutive balls. At 58-2 the game was back in the balance. Opener Frowser Plowman was joined at the crease by captain Martin Cox. The pair put on a stand of 91 and in doing so swung the game back in Nuneaton’s favour, before Khizar Zaman (2-47) struck and took the big wicket of Cox for 59.

Once Saints had their breakthrough regular wickets continued to fall and after a short rain delay that reduced the second innings to 47 overs, Nuneaton stumbled their way to 247-8 off their 50 overs. Opener Frowser Plowman ended the innings unbeaten on 76 with extras being third highest scorer (41). Although realising it was going to be a tough chase Saints were buoyed by the fact they had restricted Nuneaton to under 250 and were confident going into the second half of the game on which they felt was a good batting track.

The chase however started in the worst possible way when Liam Benn (3-30) bowled Jon Hipkiss with the second ball of the innings. Sean Dunne joined Stefan Van Dyk at the crease as the pair looked to stabilise the innings. They managed to put on 66 for the second wicket before Stefan fell just short of his half century for a swashbuckling 45.

The Nuneaton bowlers swiftly undid Saints’ hard work as a flurry of wickets fell with Benn removing Justin Hipkiss for a duck whilst in the following over Jake Allen (3-54) joined the party and bowled Sean Dunne for 15. At 66-4 it was looking unlikely that Saints were going to come out of the game with a positive result.

Cue Tom Wright, who rescued the innings and batted superbly to get Saints within touching distance of the winning target hitting a superb 92. With the win out of sight going into the final over of the innings Saints knew that they only needed one run and to see out the final over to walk away from the game with a winning draw and 17 points. However, heartbreak was to follow as three balls from the end Tom Wright was dismissed LBW by Jake Allen, which ensured the victory for Nuneaton and left Saints all out for 232.

The result leaves the 1st XI in 4th place of the Warwickshire Premier Division, still only one win off top spot.

This Saturday sees them visit Aston Manor in another tough looking tie.

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