Sweetfuels CDCA Div Two

Fairford II 176-4

Avening & Cherington 174-8

FAIRFORD seconds inflicted a first defeat of the season on the division leaders Avening & Cherington at home, winning a hard-fought match by six wickets.

Asked to bat first, the visitors began menacingly, Mike Alley striking the ball powerfully to many parts of the ground before nicking Olly Holland to slip for a rapid 30.

There then followed a period of consolidation against tight Fairford bowling and fielding. John Clark (20) and Adam Jury (26) provided strong support to captain Jay Richings, who went on to top-score with an excellent 67.

However, the home side held their catches as Avening & Cherington looked to accelerate towards the end of their innings and Colin Denness produced a remarkable final over to double their bowling points. He hit the stumps three times and Dan Godwin took a sharp stumping off the last ball to leave the visitors on 174-8.

Denness finished with the best bowling figures of 8-2-24-5.

Fairford's opening batsmen built on this momentum, getting their reply off to a flying start with an impressive array of aggressive shots. David Taylor (42) and Richard Cowley put on a match-winning century stand in quick time. Conditions deteriorated as the forecast rain came but neither side looked to come off. Avening & Cherington took four wickets cheaply, including Cowley for a fluent and well-judged 80.

However, Guy Bailey (16no) and Mike Bowman (9no) steadied any nerves in the pavilion to see Fairford home in the 33rd over.

Bowman struck the winning runs with an extra cover drive that was a strong contender for shot of the day.

Fairford's win keeps them in second place and sets up a tight finish to the league season with a maximum of four games still to play.