United Counties Bus (161 all out, Hammond 3-11) beat LILLEY (153 all out, Clarke 26) by 8 runs

Lilley crumbled to a fourth straight defeat at the hands of bus drivers in sweltering Bedford yesterday, despite a late rally from Philo Clarke and Mik Carman.
Lilley skipper James Ashby’s appalling year with the coin continued as he lost his sixth toss out of seven and Lilley were forced to bowl in temperatures of over 35 degrees at pretty Bedford Park.  With no Gareth Tompkins and Ashby carrying an injury, new ball duties were passed to Tim Perry and Philo Clarke.  Perry bowled some searing early innings deliveries and it was no surprise when he bowled Younis for 1.  He added to his tally when he drew a poor drive from Sapdar which dropped straight to Mik Carman at deep mid off and when Ashby, bowling off five yards, had Sampson trapped lbw, things looked rosy.  The game took a sour turn shortly after, when former UCB Captain Auty was involved in an altercation with Lilley skipper Ashby, a moment which led to some heated exchanges throughout the afternoon.  Ken Hammond calmed things down by clean bowling Auty moments later to add to his earlier wicket of Shah for 29. 
With Lilley a bowler light, JA turned to Rich Kendall for a few overs.  He responded perfectly, bowling some testing early deliveries, before finally nabbing his first wicket ever with a perfect yorker to dismiss Hardwick.  A caught and bowled and then a skied catch to Taz Qureshi behind the stumps gave Kendall his 2nd and 3rd wickets before the UCB tail got stuck in  and sent the fledgling bowler to all parts.  At the end of a five over burst, Rich had bagged 3-31.  Hammond returned to finish proceedings, UCB all out for 161 and Hammond an impressive 3-11 from 6.3 overs to his name.
The bad blood continued to flow as UCB decided that they would start Lilley’s innings with another new ball (?!) but Taz Qureshi made light work of the UCB bowling early on as he raced to 20 before being bowled by A. Shah.  Perry managed just 5 before he was caught off the bowling of the portly Farley.  Ashby and Doug Tomsett then put on 25 for the third wicket before the opener
smashed one to Cliff Dixon in the covers, gone for 19.  Ashby was caught at wide slip moments later for 16 and when Hammond (1) produced the sort of rash stroke that Lilley didn’t need, things looked bleak.  A good stand of 32 between Philo Clarke and Phil Horner (11) looked to swing the game back Lilley’s way, however.  Horner was given out LBW to end the 32 run stand though and Paddington (4) and Kendall (0) made revolving door appearances as Philo looked on helplessly from the non-strikers end.  Stew Collinson did not appear at number eight as he had been taken ill with heat stroke during the afternoon which meant Mik Carman was promoted up the order.  He duly spanked his second delivery back over the bowlers head for six and it was game on, with Lilley less than fifty from victory.  The partnership looked to be swinging the game Lilley’s way until, having put on 35 for the ninth wicket, Mik Carman was caught at fly slip for 21.  With Lilley within touching distance of a win, Stew Collinson defied the medics by strapping his pads on and making his way out to the crease, despite being extremely unwell.  The Dragon had the Lilley faithful in raptures as he slashed at a delivery from Shah which flew to the third man boundary, but a single which brought Philo back onto strike proved to be the last action for the Dragon.  Clarke (26), attempting to finish the game off, drove at Shah, but could only find the fielder at deep mid off to end the Lilley run chase just eight runs short. 
Hot, hot, hot.  Sadly, the little turnip ex Captain who tried to ruin the afternoon for everyone may have just sealed the fate of any future fixtures between Lilley and the Bus outfit.  Roll on Simmons next week!

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