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LILLEY (166-5, Qureshi 64) beat Pirton (163-7, Perry 2-27) by five wickets
Lilley ran out comfortable winners at Pirton yesterday with an impressive display of power hitting from Taz Qureshi and debutante Az Sakhi guiding the visitors home.
With cloud above, the scene was remarkably similar to the previous weeks toss at Simmons, and it turned out to be the same result as Lilley skipper James Ashby won the toss for the second week running and invited the home side to bat first in a time game.
Both home openers started scratchily against JA and Perry, but it was a brilliant piece of fielding which accounted for opener Bright. Having chopped the ball seemingly past gully, Bright set off on a run only for the great wall of Horner to dive brilliantly to his left to make the stop. The ball was picked up and thrown to ‘keeper Peter Rogers who eventually ran out the batsman in casual fashion. Tim Perry then got in on the act, bowling both Little and Cree in quick succession. The latter was struck by a ball from Perry (2-27) on the thumb immediately before, an injury which saw him make a run for the hospital after his innings to be strapped up. Ashby (1-3) added a fourth Lilley wicket when he drew a poor stroke from opener Laskonski, the ball flying to Phil Horner at gully who completed a good catch above his head.
Hammond and Gareth Tompkins took over the bowling duties, but Lewis and Bidgood began playing some quality strokes to boost the Pirton score. Skipper Bidgood had reached 51 when he smashed a ball straight in the air to deep mid wicket where Taz Qureshi completed a good catch. Qureshi turned villain moments later, dropping a similar chance off Lewis in the same position, but Hammond ended his resistance in the next over, clean bowling him. Cameron’s brief cameo ended in similar fashion as Hammond (2-44) picked up his second wicket. Pirton eventually closed after two and a half hours on 163-7 from 39 overs.
Doug Tomsett and Gareth Tompkins started the run chase for Lilley, with GT picking straight up from where he left off last week with four quick boundaries. There was to be no ten wicket win however as Tomsett (5) soon departed, bowled by a ball which beat him for lack of pace! Dan Timson bowled GT (18 shortly afterwards, which left Taz Qureshi and new player Az Sakhi at the crease. Az had attended many nets during the winter and shown tremendous power, but the watching Lilley faithful wondered whether he could transfer it onto the match stage. After a quiet start, any lingering doubts disappeared with the ball out of the ground as Az nailed two absolutely huge straight sixes, one at each end. He went on to notch a very useful debut score of 36 from just 25 deliveries before being bowled by Smith. Meanwhile at the other end, Taz had joined in the fun with a straight six of his own, and the pairs exploits meant there were dozens of gaps in the field for Taz and Peter Rogers to ease the ball into. Sadly for Rogers, just two balls into his return game, he was yorked for a duck. Rogers’ loss was Brad Tompkins gain, as the South African worked the ball around with Qureshi, who had begun batting in a far more mature manner. Qureshi eased his way to his first half century of the season and moved to 64, before skying a catch to long on, attempting to hit the remaining six runs Lilley needed to win with one meaty blow. Halal, of course. Qureshi’s fine knock of 64 came in just 54 balls and when Brad Tompkins (24*) hit the winning boundary for Lilley to seal a five wicket win, there were still ten overs and four balls remaining.