Saturday was a record-breaking afternoon for Ovington Cricket Club as First Team batsmen Craig Nicoll smashed an unbeaten 248 to hit both a club and Vale League individual scoring record.
The Firsts, playing against a Stockton side whose seconds were forced to drop out of the league a couple of weeks ago, batted first and amassed a huge total of 358-3. Nicoll’s 248* was the highest score in both Ovington and League history and left an enormous total on the board for the Stockton team to chase.
As can often be the case when chasing a large total, Stockton’s batting collapsed and they only managed 78 in response. Rich Waites (3-20), Dominic Kitching (3-21) and Neil Metcalfe (3-4) the main protagnists with the ball. A winning margin of 280 wouldn’t be far away from an Ovington record either. It was an afternoon to remember for the Ovington side.
In the battle of two (mostly!) young teams, Heworth edged out Ovington II in a closely fought contest. Ovington won the toss and batted, and got off to a decent start, being 28-0 after 6 overs. However, Andy Cole (8) was then bowled, and Liam Herringshaw (22) – fast becoming his side’s Shane Watson – failed to convert a good start, offering catching practice to gully. Three more wickets fell, and it took a grafting innings from Will Osborne (44), some lively batting from Matty Roberts (37), and Iain Kirkup’s 20 not out, to post Ovington II a defendable total of 164-8.
In reply, George O’Neill and Oliver Hughes rode their luck at times – Ovington opening bowler Ali Souch being aghast to see a chop-on fail to dislodge the bails – but batted brightly to get Heworth off to a good start. Hughes was eventually pinned lbw by one of Iain Kirkup’s left-arm darts, but P. Fairburn helped continue the good work, and when O’Neill reached his half-century, a Heworth win looked a certainty.
Harry Buckley (2-22) began building some pressure though, snaring Fairburn, who holed out to Andy Cole’s deftly-set deep midwicket trap, and then having Matty Roberts stump the new man. Another wicket fell to a run-out, and when Kirkup (2-27) returned to dismiss O’Neill for 77, Heworth were wobbling, with overs running out. It was the wise heads of P. Whitley and M. Wragg who ensured the home side reached the finishing line: a boundary from Whitley taking his side to 166-5 with exactly two overs to spare.
For the Third Team, off the back of a brilliant victory against Thixendale, faced Heworth. Ovington batted first and achieved full batting points, with Matt Besford hitting 75, the first time this season he’s reached 50 without converting it to three figures. Support from others in the batting department was lacking somewhat, but Chris Geelan, who has had a barren run of form with the bat this season, chipped in with 26, including six 4s, to help Ovington to 180-9.
In response, Heworth weren’t in the strongest of positions after 15 overs, on a score of 80-4. It wasn’t to be though for the Ovington III bowling attack though, as they struggled to pick up more wickets and Heworth reached their target for the loss of five wickets.