OVs beat College to stay top
The Old Victorians won the battle of the Rathbones at College Field this afternoon, beating their younger counterparts the Victoria College First XI by 77 runs and cementing their place at the top of the NatWest Weekend Premier League.
Elsewhere in the league, Optimus won a dramatic fixture against Springfield by 1 run at FB1 whilst SCF beat St Ouen by 46 runs at LQ1.
In the Rathbones clash at College Field, the OVs total of 223-6 in their 45 overs proved too stiff a test for the home side, College stumbling to 146 all out in 41 overs despite a well-crafted 63 from captain Tim De La Haye.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, the OVs made a solid start to their innings albeit assisted by some lacklustre College fielding. Richard Sinel dropped a straight-forward chance at short cover off Peter Gough when the OVs skipper had made only 16, one of several chances put down by the College fielders.
Gough would go on to make 47 before perishing to the bowling of Aidan McGuire, his attempted lofted drive only finding the safe hands of De La Haye.
The College First XI then bowled with discipline in the middle overs, tight spells from medium-pacer Corey Bisson and off-spinner De La Haye stifling the OVs run rate. This squeeze eventually told as John Borg (17) popped a return catch back to the College skipper, a just reward for a good spell of pressure cricket.
The arrival of Island batsman Sam De La Haye to the crease then saw the OVs push on, a big straight six off the bowling of brother Tim one of the highlights in his quick-fire 34. Andy Dewhurst also made a significant contribution, his unbeaten 57 from 92 balls anchoring the OVs innings and taking them to 223-6.
Nevertheless, College would've been quietly optimistic at the halfway stage having prevented the OVs from getting away from them, the intelligent death bowling of Alex Noel and his direct hit to run out Tom Minty key factors in minimising any damage in the last 5 overs.
However, the Victoria College First XI's batting response started poorly, Chris Jones reeling off his first four overs for a miserly one run and Ben Searson picking up the wickets of openers Dan McAviney and Corne Bodenstein, reducing College to 10-2 in 7 overs. The catch to dismiss McAviney was quite remarkable, Gough sprinting from slip to take a brilliant one-handed chance only centimetres from the ground.
McGuire and De La Haye then rebuilt the College innings with some sensible, watchful batting, picking off the OVs spinners and running well between the wickets. Yet McGuire would have to depart in unlucky circumstances as he was stumped off a wide, victim to some very sharp glove-work down the legside from Bobby Minty.
College would never really recover from this setback despite the efforts of De La Haye, the skipper hitting leg-spinner Sam Dewhurst for a huge six towards the Langford car park to bring up his 50 in 77 balls. Yet his departure for 63, caught by Jonny Gough in the deep as College looked to up the rate, effectively spelt the end of the home side's hopes, Andy Dewhurst cashing in with 3 wickets as College finished 146 all out in 41 overs.
OV's captain Peter Gough said: 'We batted reasonably well and got some decent foundations, Andy Dewhurst batting well towards the end. It wasn't the easiest pitch in the world - you either had to wait for it to be really full and whack it or just nudge it around.'
'I don't think that we necessarily bowled at our best in the middle overs but in fairness Tim De La Haye batted really well for them.'
Speaking about his batting performance De La Haye said: 'I've started the season pretty badly but slowly my form's coming back and it's starting to feel good out in the middle.'
'The pitch today was really dry and anything that was of a good length or just back of a length was holding up a lot so scoring was difficult. Chris Jones and Andy Dewhurst did a good job of bowling a consistent line and length which was difficult to get away.'
'In the field we weren't particularly good and as a team we let a few balls through. 4 or 5 catches went down so there's room for improvement but they only put 223 on the board so there are definite positives there.'
Elsewhere, Springfield fell cruelly short against Optimus, losing out by 1 run at FB1.
Optimus had earlier made 263-6 in their 45 overs, Matt Hague continuing his recent good form by scoring 97 from 115 balls. Springfield, in response, finished their quota of overs on 262-8, Ed Kean's 64 from 57 balls and Danny Kearns's 21 from 15 balls taking their side tantalisingly close to victory.
At LQ1 SCF beat St Ouen by 46 runs to record their second win of the season.
SCF posted 185-9 in their 45 overs, Mark Chipperfield top-scoring with 37* and 16-year old Joe Bevis taking 3-23. In reply, St Ouen were all out for 139, Chipperfield again starring with 3-42 from his 8.2 overs.