LILLEY (143-9, Perry 38) beat Aspenden Standon & Puckeridge (130 all out, Hammond 3-7) by 13 runs

Lilley’s 2005 campaign started in thrilling fashion with a hard fought win against plucky ASPCC.
Lilley skipper James Ashby lost his first toss of the season and Lilley were put into bat on a wet but firm track in the pretty village of Aspenden.  New Vice Captain Gareth Tompkins remained at the top of the order and opened with Doug ‘Nurdlemeister’ Tomsett, instantly making an impact with two boundaries.  The ball proved difficult to time off the slower bowlers however and he soon miscued to Strange in the covers on 13, leaving Lilley 18-1.
Moments later he was joined by his opening partner as Doug attempted a sweep across the line to a full toss, only to guide the ball gently to square leg for 3.
Tim Perry and Ashby (19) then steadied the ship in the face of some tight bowling and put on 48 for the third wicket before the Captain perished, flicking a full toss straight to opposition Captain Potter at square leg.  TP continued to bat with some fluency and looked good for a half century until he was bowled for 38 by Potter (3-21).  Lilley were suffering, with rain and even hail stopping play intermittently.
Lilley slipped from 90-2 to 109-8 with a flurry of middle order batsmen being dismissed including Brad Tompkins for 10, Ken Hammond for 7, Taz Qureshi for 4 and the new slimline Phil Horner for 6.
With Craig ‘Harry Potter’ Paddington now sporting the glasses which have so transformed his batting, Lilley need not have worried.  Paddy’s first delivery faced of the season saw him skip some eight yards down the track and drive the ball with authority to mid on – this Paddington is a new beast.  Off the mark with a single, Paddington then creamed a boundary straight back past the bowler, much to the delight of a superb Lilley following in the pavilion.  Stew Collinson could only admire from the far end.  Until he got on strike.  Two singles to get him loose before absolutely nailing the last ball of Strange’s over back over the bowler’s head for six.  Paddington unluckily was bowled shortly after for 8, but Kendall came in and ably supported the on-fire Collinson, who cleverly cut, dabbed and drove his way to an unbeaten 22 and guided Lilley to the defendable shores of 143-9 in their 40 overs.
Ashby and Perry opened up in Lilley’s defence of 143 with the ‘new’ ball and it was TP who snatched the early wicket of Finnie, bowled off an inside edge.  Hammond replaced Ashby after five overs and immediately took effect, grabbing tow wickets in two balls.  The first, a smart caught and bowled was matched and indeed beaten in quality with the wicket of Devonshire, caught superbly, low to second slip Gareth Tompkins left hand side.  Hammond then bowled Potter for six on his way to reeling off five maidens on the trot to complete figures of 8 overs, 5 maidens, 3 wickets for 7 runs.  Perry (2-18) again was in on the act shortly after at the other end, dismissing Lindsey Junior courtesy of a flying catch at short cover from Stew Collinson, who was having one of those days!
However Booth (35) and Strange (40*) started to dig in and settle, and things looked ominous for Lilley as they began milking Qureshi’s bowling.  Taz bagged his first wicket of the year though when he bowled Booth and added M. Pankhurst for a duck to his tally, but Strange began working GT and Qureshi to the boundary as the home side closed to within 20 runs of victory.  With Taz (2-43) going for 43 off 7 overs and GT 38 off 5, the skipper turned to himself for a last throw of the dice.  He duly bowled Lindsey Senior (10), leaving the in-form Strange with only one partner in Hampton.  Ashby (2-23) then bent back the tail enders leg stump with the final ball of his seventh over, leaving Lilley winners by 13 runs.


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