In-form Eastwood ease to another win

Mark Smith hit 95 not out with the bat before taking two important wickets in an over whilst bowling for Eastwood firsts.
Mark Smith hit 95 not out with the bat before taking two important wickets in an over whilst bowling for Eastwood firsts.

Eastwood Town Cricket Club’s first XI stretched their winning streak to six games with a crushing 147-run victory over Plumtree last weekend.

Eastwood were called in to bat first by Plumtree, a decision they would live to regret as Town racked up a mammoth 306, their second highest score of the season.

Mark Smith was the leading run scorer for Eastwood, batting through the entire innings for a superb 95.

Smith was supported well by Steven Leese who scored 26, skipper Neil Gregory added 42 to his growing collection for the season, plus an incredible 78 from just 42 balls from Gordon Pearson towards the end if the innings.

Eastwood’s opening bowlers struggled to make early inroads in Plumtree’s batting line up, with only James Longden taking a wicket in the first 15 overs.

A change of tact was required, and the gentle swing of Smith provided the perfect tonic, taking two wickets in an over as Plumtree stumbled to 67 for 3.

Stan Carter and Chris Mortimer provided a brief revival for Plumtree, but Hitesh Godhaniya removed both batsmen, and then proceeded to rip out Plumtree’s tail for good measure on the way to his first six-wicket haul for Eastwood, as Plumtree fell well short on 159.

The victory means that Eastwood need just two points from their remaining two fixtures to ensure safety and Division B cricket for next season, a scenario which looked hopeless at the halfway stage.

Second XI

Eastwood seconds secured their 12th victory of the 2011 campaign with an easy seven-wicket victory over Calverton.

Calverton won the toss and chose to bat first, but lost two wickets in the third over courtesy of a catch by Mark Stocks in gully and a leg before off the bowling of Dave Summers.

John Leafe got Calverton back on track with a flurry of aggressive boundaries, but two wickets in Ryan Esson’s first over halted Calverton’s charge, and when Leafe was run out for 31 thanks to a mighty swoop by Luke Esson in the field, Calverton looked set for a really low score.

Jordon Jackson held Calverton’s tail together with an unbeaten 35, but wickets kept falling at the other end including two each for Luke Esson and Shaun Stocks.

Summers returned to take the final wicket as Calverton were all out for 150.

Eastwood’s reply looked shaky to start with, as the top order struggled to 65 for 3, but the Stocks brothers united for the cause as together they knocked off the total without any further troubles.

Shaun got his first half century of the season with 51, but Mark was just under the milestone on 44.

Third XI

The thirds suffered a rare defeat at the hands of league leaders Poplars.

Poplars racked up 207 at Hall Park, thanks mainly to 108 from Abishek Jha.

Greg Hatherley claimed three wickets for 53, with Danny Noble and Calum Reeve picking up two each.

Eastwood could only manage 114 batting second, and if Steve Dockrell had not added 68 with the bat, Eastwood could have been dismissed for a very low score as no other batsman got into double figures.

Eastwood need another win to make sure of promotion, but second-placed Kinoulton will be a formidable test this weekend.