STOKE Bruerne hosted Earls Barton 2nds in Division Five looking to kick start their season after two defeats.
Stoke lost the toss and were asked to bat on a damp track that looked as though it might give some assistance to the bowlers early on.
Openers Charlie Edwards and Alex Holmes proved this assessment to be completely wrong as they raced to 48 off only eight overs.
Edwards was first out for a boundary laden 30. Sam Heath came in at three fresh from his 50 last week, and batted as though it was a continuation of last week’s innings.
Holmes went for 23, skipper Bob Anderson scored 31 and Stoke were 137-2. A mini collapse saw that become 174-6 but Kevin Richardson drew on his many number of years experience in the game to construct a patient 33.
Heath brought up his maiden ‘grown up’ 100 with a straight six. It was a chanceless innings of great maturity from the 18-year-old, mixed in with crisp straight hitting were some exquisite reverse sweeps of a leg spinner. Stoke declared on 256-8 off 46 overs. Paul Smith was the star with the ball finishing with 15-2-72-6.
The Stoke bowlers then set about their task. Ashley Morris steaming in down the slope removed Howe second ball without the scoreboard having started to move. Earls Barton then set their stall out for a draw and 56 overs later they achieved it, finishing on 115-8.
Luke Adams opening his account with 3-20 and Morris ending with 2-32. No batsman reached 20 in what became a very frustrating afternoon for Stoke. So a winning draw gets the season going.
Next week Stoke visit Overstone 2nds knowing a win will take them above their hosts.