|Alcester & Ragley (244-8) beat Henley (208 all out) by 36 runs|
Ragley ended league leaders Henley’s 14 match winning run with a superb all round display at Ragley Park.
Losing the loss and being asked to bat first Ragley lost Strain with the score on 9, bowled by Stibbon. At this stage Ben Lee was joined by captain Adam Warbrick and the two of them accelerated the scoring rate as they lifted the score to 51 after 10 overs before Warbrick was caught at slip, again off the bowling of Stibbon as he chased a wide delivery. Simon Sloan joined Lee and this was the start of an excellent 130 run partnership in only 21 overs. Lee took the attack to the Henley bowlers as he passed 50 in the 18th over proving especially severe on Mahmood (1-66) including a towering six over point. Stibbon at this stage finished a very good 8 over spell with 2-19. Sloan and Lee increased the tempo further against the change bowlers until Sloan was caught on the deep midwicket boundary for a well made 44. As so often happens his partner Lee followed in the next over as he was stumped for 87, including 5 sixes, when a certain hundred looked on the cards. The score at this stage was 186-4 with 10 overs left. There were useful contributions down the order notably from Arthur Bennett who played a little cameo at the end to finish on 26 not out from only 16 balls as Ragley posted a competitive total of 244-8. Stibbon was the pick of the Henley bowlers as he claimed 2 further wickets at the death to finish with 4-33.
After 3 successive games of Ragley failing to take a wicket in the first 20 overs when fielding Warbrick decided to take some pace off the ball against the powerful Henley batting line up as he opened with the left arm spin of John Tose and it paid dividends as he snared both openers in his first 3 overs as Henley slumped to 9-2 from 5 overs. However the pressure of the situation did not seem to affect new batsman Stibbon as he began in ominous style scoring at will including 3 early sixes to accelerate the score to 68-2 from 9 overs. Tose then claimed his 3rd wicket as he deceived Nicol with an excellent slower delivery to bowl him for 16. New batsman Rostill and Stibbon continued to try and win the game in record time as they notched up a further 5 sixes between them as the score reached 120-3 in only the 18th over. However the bowling partnership of Warbrick and Marc Woolley changed the game back towards Ragley as Warbrick had Rostill very well caught on the deep midwicket boundary by Sloan for a quickfire 29. Woolley at the other end was keeping Stibbon relatively quiet after his explosive start and was rewarded for putting the pressure on as he found the edge of Stibbons’ bat to find keeper Ricky Allan take a great catch standing up to the stumps. Stibbon had made 82 from only 60 balls. The score at this stage was 156-5 but Henley had 20 overs still left to make the final 80 runs required for victory. All Henley’s hopes seem to rest on their last recognised batsman and captain Phil Hearnden. He soon lost Key, lbw for 1 off Woolley. But in conjunction with Mahmood, he was knocking the ball around calmly and picking up the occasional boundary. With score on 190-6 and 14 overs still remaining Hearden played a drive straight at cover and was caught off the bowling of Warbrick for 33, and with him Henley’s chances seem to have gone. And so it proved as Warbrick claimed the final 3 wickets in his last 3 overs to leave Henley all out for 208 with 11 overs still remaining. Ragley were rewarded for a much improved fielding performance to go with a good batting and bowling display. Warbrick finished with great figures of 5-53 from his 10 overs whilst Woolley finished with 2-43 and Tose 3-41 in what was a quick and high scoring game.