Couchman’s new-ball spell puts Leek Wootton on way to their first victory

Bowler Ian Cox shows his frustration after narrowly missing out on the wicket of Richard Pozzi.
Bowler Ian Cox shows his frustration after narrowly missing out on the wicket of Richard Pozzi.

Bottom-of-the-table Leek Wootton recorded their first win of the Cotswold Hills Premier Division campaign, denting Norton Lindsey & Wolverton’s title hopes in the process.

Norton skipper Martin Perfect elected to bat first on a good but very dry wicket at Wolverton Road.

Norton Lindsey batsman Martin Perfect just gets home. Pictures: Morris Troughton

Norton Lindsey batsman Martin Perfect just gets home. Pictures: Morris Troughton

However, his decision backfired as the home side had all sorts of trouble with Graeme Couchman, promoted to the unfamiliar role of new-ball bowler.

Couchman was straight on the money, removing Gavin Shephard (7), brother Stuart (1) and James Pyatt (8) to leave the score on a very sorry 29 for three in the tenth over.

Opening bat Liam Smith (31) put together some sort of recovery with Conor Green (22) but they were parted seven overs later having advanced the score by 36.

Playing his first game after injury, number six Richard Pozzi (27) joined Smith to try and push towards some sort of competitive total.

They struggled to get any momentum against tight Wootton bowling and when Smith was trapped lbw in the 31st over, the score had only just reached three figures.

That was the signal for the wheels to come off completely as Sunny Nijjar (6), Steve Rushton (4), and David McInnes (3) all had short stays.

Pozzi was the ninth wicket to fall as Norton collapsed from 100 for four to 131 for nine, leaving Perfect (13 not) and Steve Bliwert (7 not out) to try and salvage something from the innings.

They edged to 158 at tea, with Couchman returning a fine three for 16, Ian Cox three for 40 and Khan two for 26, all off full ten-over spells.

With Norton missing both front-line spinners, it was always going to be a huge job containing the visitors.

Despite an early success for McInnes, the visitors were never in any trouble as they accumulated steadily.

Opener Ian Somerville (73 not out) carried his bat as the target was reached in the 33rd over, well supported by Terrance Malcolm (35) and Stuart Budd (25).

Norton bowled tidily but without any significant pressure as Wootton finished on 159 for the loss of just three wickets.

Leek Wootton 2nds continue to set the pace at the top of Division Five after claiming an emphatic win over eight-man visitors Overbury.

The hosts batted first on a very good pitch and immediately put the bowling to the sword, spearheaded by a superb innings of 118 not out from in-form opener Phil Robinson.

His maiden ton included ten boundaries and his concentration never wavered in the heat as he batted through the full 45 overs.

With Robinson holding down one end, the Leek Wootton batsmen were able to score freely at the other.

Rich Morgan’s 69 included 12 fours and a six on to the pavilion roof, with Zain Ansari (37) and Nick Jenkins (23) also chipping in.

Only Westmore, with three for 56 off his ten overs, emerged with anything approaching decent figures as Leek Wootton posted 313 for five.

In response, only opener Brunt, with a hard-hit 37, made any impression on the bowling as the visitors folded to 113 all out.

Wootton skipper Dec Cook was once more among the wickets with four for 31.