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Ben Stebbings in form but Brockhampton beaten in Birmingham League
BROCKHAMPTON remain comfortably in mid-table in the Premier Division of the Birmingham League despite a 32-run home reverse against Barnt Green.
But club chairman Roy Wargen was disappointed that, in just their second match at the Parks this season because of the appalling weather, his side had been unable to force a victory.
“With the exception of Ben Stebbings, all of our top order failed, but we still felt that we had a chance when Joe Crichard and Chris Powell were at the crease,”
“But this is an unforgiving league and you can’t make too many mistakes.
“However, it is a measure of how far we have come when we can come close to completing a double over the reigning champions, whom we beat earlier in the year.”
Chris Boroughs (3-57) and Callum Stewart (2-41) picked up an early wicket apiece as Barnt Green stumbed to 36-2 after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
But Tom Burton, who hit 11 fours in his 66, and Richard Wilkinson, whose 75 included seven fours and two sixes, moved the innings forward with a thirdwicket stand of 108.
After they were parted, however, Brockhampton took wickets steadily and although Herefordshire allrounder Nick Powell (17 not out), Jack Williams (14) and former Warwickshire allrounder Dougie Brown (12) all reached double-figures, the visitors were only able to reach 233-9 from their allotted 55 overs.
Charlie Griffiths bowled his left-arm spin steadily to return 2-67 from 17 overs with Adam Hewlett, providing the off-spin in the absence of skipper Owen Price who was at a wedding, collected 1-36. Hewlett (one) and Boroughs, for a duck, were quickly dismissed at the start of the Brockhampton innings as the hosts subsided to 3-2.
It was soon 31-4 with Henry Langford (nine) and stand-in skipper Dave Exall (five) also back in the pavilion.
But Stebbings, with the assistance of Crichard (19), put the disappointment of notching a pair on his home ground for Herefordshire against Oxfordshire earlier in the week behind him to play a fine innings of 90, which came from 143 balls with nine fours and a six.
“Ben Stebbings batted superbly,” said Wargen. “It was one of the best innings that I’ve seen from anyone for a long time.
“He was unlucky when he went to cut one through the offside and dragged it on to his stumps.”
Jonny Walker (19) and Chris Powell (22) edged Brockhampton closer to their target, but Nick Powell finished with 3-27 as the home side finished just short.
Despite the defeat, Wargen was pleased to see cricket being played at the club’s picturesque headquarters with the prospect of helping to repair the club’s finances, which have taken a battering during the prolonged wet spell.
“We had a lot of people came along to watch today, I think because they they have been starved of cricket,”
said the chairman. “But the bad weather has had a big impact.
“The bar takings have certainly not been as good as they could have been and we have only been able to stage four of our planned 12 junior coaching sessions on Friday nights, when we have 140 youngsters on the ground.
“I have always maintained that the two most important things for a cricket club are good clubmen and finance.
“You can always then attract good cricketers. We are safe and sound financially and we have a very good treasurer who plans for everything.”
On the field, Wargen is confident that the club are continuing to move in the right direction despite Saturday’s defeat.
“The top-order failed on Saturday but it only needed one of them to have got 20 and we would probably have won the game,” he said.
“But we are going the right way. We have a great fielding side in a league where the standard of the fielding has really surprised me, it’s so much better than it used to be.
“We have got plenty of depth in the club and some talented players in the second team who are coming through.
“Our second, third and fourth teams are all at the top of their divisions so that shows that there is plenty still to come and there were so many players available on Saturday that we could easily have fielded five teams.”