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Aston Manor Come Close Against Wombourne

On the final game of the first half of the season, Manor travelled to second placed Division 2 new boys Wombourne. Skipper Evans once again won the toss and asked the hosts to bat. They got off to a startling start racing to 91 before some inspired field placing and the bowling of Shozab Haider (4-69) and Sheikh Ilyas tied the Staffordshire sides middle order down. However, some powerful late hitting saw them reach the imposing total of 304-6 from 55 overs overs. Had it not been for the safe hands of Imran Jamiel, who took 3 catches, the Squirrels could have been chasing a lot more on the small ground. Four Wombourne batsmen reached  the 40s, however none went on to score a half century.

Manors reply got off to a flyer, with Jamiel taking Staffordshire 1st XI bowler Dale Quiney (0-85 off 12) to the sword before falling on 66. He was joined at the crease by Christi Viljoen who played brilliantly to reach 79. Unfortunately with the game excitingly poised, a brief downpour caused a break in play, and the covers leaked so Manor lost 11 overs whilst the pitch was being dried. With Manor requiring 244 to clinch the winning draw off 44 overs, Viljoen fell as he tried to push the rate along, Iffy Latif (10) and Hassan Ansari (24*) tried in vain to get the Squirrels the positive draw, but fell agonisingly short on 228-7. Still, the boys showed great character to challenge what is a very solid and talented Wombourne team, and finish the first half of the season in 3rd place, surpassing all pre-season expectations.

There is still a lot of work to do to build on our impressive start, and next weekends trip to Cannock will prove a tough test as they have climbed to one place below the Squirrels, as they have strengthened the team who bowled us out for 77 on the first game of the season. Manor will be looking to right the wrongs from that fixture and restore some pride whilst keeping the pressure on the leading pair of Brockhampton and Wombourne.