Topcroft open with a victory

TOPCROFT began the new Alliance Premier Division season, under the new sponsorship of Cunninghams Auto of Hempnall, with a win at home to Vauxhall Mallards.

TOPCROFT began the new Alliance Premier Division season, under the new sponsorship of Cunninghams Auto of Hempnall, with a win at home to Vauxhall Mallards.

James Shipley invited Mallards to bat first. Opening bowlers Marshall and Todd bowled well with little reward as the opening partnership went past 50. Topcroft were not too disappointed as the runs were difficult to come by and many overs were used up accumulating them.

With the pressure building and some superb fielding frustrating the Mallards openers, new Topcroft overseas player Dammika Gunawardene picked up his first wicket, bowling Finney (39).

With pressure on Mallards skipper Steve Goldsmith to up the run rate, Ben Baldwin forced him into a mistake, chipping a drive straight to Gunawardene at mid-off. Warburton struck to take a sharp return catch and remove Seager (25) and Baldwin took his second wicket to remove the Mallards overseas player thanks to a well-judged catch from Batty.

Mallards were running out of overs and struggling on 111-4. Topcroft piled on the misery as Goodfellow took a good catch diving forward to remove Stone off Warburton.

Baldwin took his third wicket, clean bowling Durrant to leave Mallards on 117-6. Biss made a quick-fire 48 but Gunawardene took two wickets in two balls which left Mallards on a below-par 162-9 after their 50 overs.

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The Topcroft run chase began conservatively, and Baldwin fell lbw to Goldsmith with only eight on the board. Topcroft set about punishing any loose delivery and grew in confidence, always staying well ahead of the required run rate.

Warburton made an impressive 41 before being out lbw. Gunawardene played a very responsible and controlled innings to finish 70 not out, and was ably supported at the end by Shipley, who played some fine strokes in his 33 not out.

Topcroft reached their target with over 15 overs to spare for the loss of only two wickets.

Match sponsor: Andrew Collison.

A Topcroft side with only 10 menwent to Downham Town in the Carter Cup, sponsored by Cunninghams Auto.

Topcroft won the toss and decided to bat, but were soon in trouble at 7-3. James Goodfellow and Dammika Gunawardene set about repairing the damage and thescore stood at 89-3 with about 10 minutes to go before lunch before Gunawardene was caught on the boundary for 44 attempting one hit too many.

This then lost four wickets for just one run to go into lunch at 90-7.

Topcroft got to 111 before Nelson struck and Goodfellow was also out for 44. Ben Davey and Adam Todd frustrated the Downham bowlers by playing their shots before Todd was unfortunate to be caught, leaving Davey 16 not out and Topcroft's innings closed on 126.

Topcroft from had a go at Downham from the start. Baldwin soon removed Barnard for five. Several chances went just wide of fielders.

Baldwin and Adam Todd bowled well as the Downham batsmen struggled early on to play on a wicket that was still bowler friendly.

However, they soon discovered that attack was the best option and Topcroft had to wait until the score was on 65 before Shipley caught Alex Stuart off the bowling of Batty.

Topcroft's final wicket came with the score on 112 when Warburton removed Arndt for a well-made 52.

Phangiso finished the match off in style with a six into the road to give Downham a seven-wicket win before tea.