LILLEY (125-0, G. Tompkins 84*) beat Simmons (121 all out, Hammond 4-11) by ten wickets

That’s what I’m talking about.  Lilley, in no uncertain terms, are back.  Gareth Tompkins third and probably best half century of the season guided Lilley to a comfortable victory at Linslade this afternoon.
James Ashby actually managed to win a toss for only the second time in 2005 and duly put the home side in in overcast muggy conditions on a soft deck.  Two years ago on this ground, Steve Eyres famously dropped Lucky Singh, the Simmons opener, in the first over at slip.  He went on to hammer a brilliant 80 in ten overs.  Lucky’s 2005 intentions were clear as early as the third ball, when he lofted Ashby back over his head for six!  The Singh hex returned moments later though, as the skipper found Lucky’s edge with his fifth ball only for bungling Ken Hammond to spill a routine slip chance.  That’s more than lucky.
GT started brightly at the Warehouse End and soon induced the edge from opener Robinson, which Phil Horner gleefully clung onto between armpit and left breast in the gully.  Singh went for less than a song moments later when the young South African nipped one back and clean bowled the big man.  Lilley proceeded to add to Hammond’s early pants effort by spilling no fewer than seven more catches in the field!  Despite this, Ken Hammond and Phil Clarke turned the screw on the middle order with some wily medium pace.  Philo picked up one, but to be frank he should have had at least four.  In the meantime, Hammond picked up four…that frankly should have been about one.  But this is cricket and we love it, don’t we?  Simmons, after some probing bowling from all five seamers, could only manage 121 from 40 overs.
GT and Doug have formed an impressive opening partnership of late.  Doug’s grit with Tompkins flowing strokeplay.  By the time Lilley had stuffed themselves with Jaffa Cake bars and other assorted tea confectionery, the sun was beating down on Mentmore Park and it was clear this was a very good toss to win.  The wicket was still testing though, as the openers found out early on.  The ball popped and skidded low, but the Lilley pairing were equal to it.  GT began expressing himself with some sublime strokes, fours all around the wicket.  A couple of sixes thrown into the mix, notably when he dropped to one knee and spanked the spinner for a maximum, and Lilley were cruising.  The home team’s slim chances of victory were soon drifting away with the summer sun into the evening, and there was little suprise when GT crashed his thirteenth boundary through gully to seal a magnificent ten wicket win for Lilley.  Tompkins knock sees his average move onto 47+ for the season.  And for those who sneer and think ‘pah, not outs boost that’ – this was his first of 2005.

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