By Liam Moakes 26/06 Updated: 27/06 18:14
BROADWAY clinched their first Cotswold Hills League Premier Division victory in five attempts as they defeated hosts Stratford Bards by 13 runs in a low-scoring but exciting contest on Saturday.
Conditions were dull and breezy but thankfully dry as the visitors were invited to bat on a wicket that was surprisingly dry on the surface.
The dampness underneath though meant there was very little pace and scoring proved difficult.
Opener Nigel Evans (12) missed a straight one from overseas ace Justin De Jagger and Marcus Humpston chipped John Paton to mid-on as Broadway were reduced to 27-2.
After Mark Evans was bowled by one that cut back sharply off Tim Smart (3-29), Jamie Powell (19) and Gary Evans (15) followed quickly and Broadway were reeling at 66-5.
Despite some stubborn resistance from the lower order, Broadway were teetering at 94-9 after 34 overs, having failed to gain a bonus point.
Adam Smallman (14no) and Nick Stewart (11) managed to ensure Bards needed to utilise their bowling option and took full advantage in lifting the total to a meagre 132 all out in the final over.
After these bonus runs there was a renewed, but quiet, confidence about the task to follow after tea.
Bards' reply started appallingly, falling to 3-2 off six overs as both openers were removed by the evergreen Powell.
He and the luckless Smallman kept things tight early on, but Fred Cross and Smart reacted with positive intent, initially choosing the aerial route.
Both players got into their stride, particularly Smart (23), who reeled off a series of fluent drives before he got over-ambitious and was cleaned bowled by Powell (3-32).
When De Jagger (0) fell soon afterwards, Cross knew the onus was fully on him and his batting showed it.
He eventually fell tamely, chipping to mid-wicket off the ever-reliable Stewart (2-24) to make it 62-5.
Having started anxiously, Paul Hutchison (23) grew into his role as the senior player and he and Russell Yates (20) rode their luck at times but built a potential match-winning partnership - the highest of the match.
Having elevated the innings to the century mark, Yates was controversially trapped in front by the wily Andy Beale (2-19) who, in his next over, accounted for the other established player when Hutchison lofted one too many straight to long-off and Bards were the side teetering.
With around 20 needed, Charl Townsend struck Smallman (1-24) for a maximum which seemed to release the pressure, only to be yorked by a beauty next ball to put the game back in the balance.
Up stepped debutant James Cutler to apply the coup de grâce. With 13 runs required and two wickets left and time not an issue, Cutler (2-18) yorked his first victim and to jubilant scenes flicked the leg bail of the number 11 with a ball that would have troubled any of the other 21 batters to complete a somewhat bizarre but compelling game as Bards were dismissed for 119.
Broadway earned 19 points and sit fifth as the season reaches the halfway stage tomorrow with the visit of Henley.
Broadway 2nds defeated visitors Earlswood 3rds by eight wickets in Division Five.
The hosts made early inroads with youngster Luke McDonagh (3-32) prominent.
They continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals with Carlo Carenza, Warren Marston and Toby Smith each snaring a couple and Earlswood were dismissed for 134.
Broadway were largely untroubled in completing an eight-wicket victory with captain Steve Wheeler maintaining an impressive start to the season with 66 not out, complemented by Marston (34no), who produced a fine all-round display.
AFTER the opening weekend of the Evesham Angling
WEEK nine of the South Warwickshire Summer Tennis
HARVINGTON maintained their Worcestershire League Division Three title
EVESHAM Golf Club Ladies’ section enjoyed a week
SOME of the most powerful amateur boxers in the country ...
ALCESTER golfer Julie Winter has received a limited-edition BOSS watch ...