AFTER 14 years of playing at other grounds, Eastnor's third XI have come home.


Home matches in the past have been played at Ledbury CC, the Ross Road playing fields, a whole season of playing away games and at Fownhope, courtesy of Brockhampton CC.

Finally after negotiations with their landlords of the Eastnor Castle Estate Co over the past few years the club's third XI will now play all their home games in the village on the club's new second pitch.

The inaugural match against Kington IV was also the first match in the newly formed Marches League Division Five A, after amalgamation with the H&DCL, and ended in a low-scoring tight game, played in a spirit that enthused all and kept everyone watching.

Eastnor's ground staff had done a magnificent job in turning this car park/field into a cricket pitch over the past 12 months and although the pitch has a slight slope and was a little soft on the day, both teams were up for the challenge with 13 of the 22 players on the field under 17 years of age including ladies.

Kington were put into bat in this 45 overs per side match and found runs hard to get as Cliff Tipton and Josh Emery bowled well, Tipton making the breakthrough in the ninth over with the score on eight.

R Stokes (11) and R Thorne (11) batted on slowly before Thorne fell at 39 to 11-year-old James Febery in the 24th over. Stokes fell to Haggar when Keith Fortey held a sharp catch just four runs later before Febery then went to town with his leg spinners.

In the next four overs he clean bowled four of the visitors and had two caught by wicketkeeper Lane to end with figures of 7-9 in his spell. Kington were all out in the 32nd over for just 53 runs. Nick Haggar and Cliff Tipton the other wicket takers.

In reply Eastnor lost four wickets for just eight runs in six overs. Things did not look good until Martin Lane came to the crease, and in his usual cavalier role began to take control against good bowling. Chris George (5-8) tied down the home batting and Lane finally fell for a well struck 33 (one 6, three 4s) with the score at 47-8. R Layton (4-6) also did his damage as the match was being played on a knife edge.

Skipper Haggar and Cliff Tipton finally saw Eastnor home with one wicket to spare, Haggar hitting a boundary.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Seconds and Thirds are both at home.