CRICKET: WILLOUGHBY maintained their unbeaten home league record by defeating fellow promotion hopefuls Silverstone at The Green.
The meeting of third against second saw the visitors into bat first and they were soon in trouble at 7/2.
However Richard West’s 44 from mid-order backed by contributions either side of 21 from Andrew Key and 19 apiece from Sean Stokes and Simon Mackay saw Silverstone reach 132/6 after their allotted overs.
Willoughby managed to complete the innings quickly to dodge the rain, and bowler Dave Alcock excelled in the conditions – taking 20/2.
In reply, the hosts suffered the now customary top order gremlins – losing three wickets with only 20 runs on the board.
No.3 Ashley Rayner had other ideas though. He remained firm and built a decisive fifth wicket partnership of 73 with Stuart Hall – the latter falling three runs short of the target while on 38.
Rayner saw Willoughby over the line eventually though with five wickets in hand.
The win continues a four-horse race for promotion with Willoughby in third place, 17 points behind leaders Bodicote and crucially six points behind Silverstone in the second promotion spot with three games to play.
Elsewhere Willoughby’s second string suffered another narrow defeat to keep them as favourites to be relegated from Division Three.
This time they faced Braunston, and having dispensed with the youth contingent that performed so admirably in defeat the week previous, a more senior-looking side were in the field first up as the hosts racked up a target of 175/9.
This was largely thanks to the efforts of Jordan Shingler (83) and Will Burgess in at number 11 who contributed with a valuable 20*.
Sean Thornton starred for Willoughby with the ball, taking 33/3, while Alex Proudman and Nikesh Mistry chipped in with figures of 2 for 21 and 2 for 24 respectively.
In reply, Hassan Nawaz made 59 and Alex Proudman 42 not out – but they were given little support elsewhere in the batting order as Willoughby were unable to claw back the deficit.
The home side closed the game down sufficiently to win by eight runs and earn them a chance of surviving relegation while Willoughby must rely on a strong end to the season.
Willoughby are back in action this weekend as the first team travel to Castlethorpe while Willoughby A host Helmdon.