WAKERLEY and Barrowden returned to winning ways with two highly impressive performances at the weekend, first beating Harborough South on Saturday and then Market Deeping 2nd XI on Sunday.
The friendly at home to Harborough began with the visitors electing to bat, and the opening pairing of Andy Gibson and Baz Panter moving the score beyond 50 before the latter was bowled by Chris White.
Gibson continued to keep the board ticking with a mixture of aggressive shots and flashes to the boundary, but the wickets began to fall around him at the other end.
After the seamers proved relatively ineffective, Barrowden turned to the young spin pairing of Dale Howkins and Sam Rees and this move turned the game back in the Rutlanders’ favour.
Howkins picked up two quick wickets, and then Rees picked up the crucial wicket of Gibson for 83, caught by the diving Chris White at mid wicket. Glenn Moody produced a stunning one handed catch in Rees’ next over for his second, and a third followed soon after.
At the other end, Howkins was bowling economically and went on to finish with a highly impressive 5-46 from his 12 overs, while Rees ended up with 3-44. Jonny White picked up the final wicket to bowl the visitors out for 162.
In reply, Jonny and Steve Chivers got off to a good start before Chivers was caught at mid off. White took the attack to the bowlers and moved briskly on to 42 before he picked out the fielder on the mid wicket boundary. Howkins was stumped soon after, and Matt Green came out to join skipper Chris with still 100 needed and 7 wickets remaining.
The pair began the rebuilding effort and that target was down below 60 when White edged behind for 18. Green, assisted by Tom Wilkins, continued to pepper all areas of the ground and soon reached his first 50 of the season. Wilkins smashed a flat six over long off before Green finished the game in style with another six over deep square leg to wrap up a 6-wicket victory with 10 overs to spare.
For every bit as impressive as Barrowden were on the Saturday, they were even more so on Sunday in a top of the table Rutland League Division 7 fixture away at Market Deeping 2nds.
Barrowden won the toss and inserted the home side despite the blue skies and dry wicket, and they were rewarded twice early on as Jonny White had Williams trapped LBW for 2 and Chris had Garmory caught behind for 0.
Six more ducks followed as Barrowden’s bowlers and fielders were rewarded for their efforts with only Nick Green (29) and Ross Barnes (18 not out) reaching double figures as Deeping were skittled out for just 63.
Dale Howkins followed up his five-for the day before with three more wickets, conceding just 22 from his 12 overs. Chris White finished with 3-7 from 11 overs, including seven maidens, and Jonny White cleaned up the tail to finish with 3-15. Matt Green took the remaining wicket, finishing with 1-15.
With a small target to chase it would have been easy to have taken the run chase lightly, but openers Jonny White and Steve Chivers batted sensibly, with both putting away the bad balls and playing solidly against the good ones.
White smashed three impressive fours down the ground before edging Gillett to slip for 21, and Chivers went on to make 20 not out alongside Dale Howkins (10 not out) to secure a 9-wicket victory inside 14 overs.
This meant that Barrowden took 19 points from the fixture, with Deeping failing to pick up any.
Barrowden skipper Chris White was very pleased with his team’s efforts all weekend, saying: “The lads came back from a few defeats well. We looked back to ourselves at Laxton the previous week and despite not winning that game there were lots of positives.
“The young lads played very well on Saturday, particularly Dale (Howkins) and Sam (Rees) who are both capable of winning games for us on their own - they’re going to be very good players if they keep progressing as they are.
“Matt (Green) batted very well and took the game away from Harborough at the right time.
“Then on Sunday we didn’t put a foot wrong,” added the Barrowden skipper. “Everything we did worked, and we stuck to the task well when previously we would’ve dropped our performance levels when the wickets kept falling.
“We bowled really well as a unit and were tight in the field. Then we batted almost professionally. We could have gone out and assumed the win would be handed to us but Jonny, Steve and Dale went about it the right way, and we can’t ask for more than 19 points off another good team.
“I don’t want to tempt fate, and the weather is certainly going to affect our chances, but we’re looking like having a very good year this season.”