AN UNBEATEN 73 from Willoughby’s Graham Hallam was not enough to prevent his side from suffering a narrow derby day defeat at the hands of neighbours Dunchurch and Bilton in the South Northants League Division One.
The hosts batted first and set a large target of 192 having got off to a fast start with the first wicket falling with 50 on the board inside only eight overs.
Ashley Rayner slowed the run rate down taking 3 for 34 off his ten overs, while 17-year-old Tom Stevenson bowled his seven over spell straight through for only 24 runs.
The reintroduction of Nick Crane saw his last seven overs take four wickets for figures of 4 for 50, ensuring the visitors collected four bowling points.
Dunchurch and Bilton’s top scorers were Sanj Giri who scored 42 and Dan Greenway hit 39.
After the heat of the first innings, the two Ians of Andrews and skipper Hughes opened up in rather gloomy light and a bit of rain.
After the first wicket fell on 29, the rather regular Willoughby collapse took hold as they went from 48 for 2 to 78 for 6 as the top order fell away quickly with only 21 overs gone.
It was at this point that the best moment in the season for Willoughby occured when the partnership of Hallam and Si Nichols contributed 109 in 18 overs. A regular mix of boundaries, smart batting and showed what is possible when time is spent at the crease.
Nicholls was run out for 35 on the last ball of the 39th over, with the visitors needing ten off the last over.
Things at the start looked positive but it was not to be for the visitors as they lost one more wicket and only managed five runs off the over.
Hallam left on 73 not out after a great knock which deserved much more but the bowling of Les Augustine (3 for 32) and Shaun Harnett (2 for 23) just kept Willoughby at bay.
On a more positive for Willoughby, they scored their highest total of the season to date and finally have a half-ton from one of their batsmen.