Title chasing Westbury see off Horwood hosts

George Hilton-Jones starred  for Westbury against Great Horwood
George Hilton-Jones starred for Westbury against Great Horwood

CRICKET: Westbury 1sts enhanced their OCA Division One title prospects with a 47-run win at Great Horwood, George Hilton Jones grabbing the man of the match honours with 5-16 for the visitors and George Jackman hitting 68.

Horwood’s Neil Wilkins took 4-33 for mid-table Horwood, while Sam Willett made 38 in Saturday’s local derby.

Westbury need to win their remaining two contests, with nearest pursuers Horley having the luxury of four games in hand.

Westbury batted first and reached 75 off 22 overs when rain reduced the game to a 40-over per side contest.

In the rush to score quick runs, Westbury lost wickets to rash shots and poor running, but the calmest head belonged to the youngest player on the ground as George Jackman displayed a range of shots all around the wicket, including some audacious reverse sweeps. He survived a very confident appeal for lbw from Neil Wilkins, who again bowled very tidily under pressure picking up another four-wicket haul, but went on to score an excellent 68 runs that lifted his side to a very respectable 170 all out.

Horwood were confident that if they got a good start to their innings, they could pull of a win, but the plan quickly went awry as they lost Matt McStraw in the second over. Wickets continued to fall and the run rate started to climb and some quick scoring was needed from the Horwood middle order. When Tom Spurr dumped Richard Tredwell for two sixes, including one hit that went 75 yards out of the ground, followed by two more sixes from Simon Ridgway off Tredwell, hopes were briefly raised.

The free scoring from one end though was not being matched at the other as all the home side’s batsmen struggled to score runs off the extremely accurate bowling of George Hilton-Jones, who produced an excellent spell of 12 overs taking five wickets for just 16 runs.

The frustrations of not being able to get him away, also yielded not only the departure of both Spurr and Ridgway but also skipper Sam Willett for a well-made 38 and the Horwood innings went into free-fall as they subsided to 123 all out. The 47-run defeat was disappointing, but Westbury had two match-winners who individually made the difference on the day.

>>Following last weekend’s cup-final defeat, Great Horwood 2nds could have been forgiven for having a bit of a hangover.

Instead they pulled off one of their best results of the season away to Chesterton. Batting first, Steve Willett led a run charge with a magnificent century as he finally exorcised all his batting gremlins in one afternoon.

A destructive player when on form, Willett took the vaunted Chesterton attack apart, finishing with 120 out of Horwood’s total of 216-8 - with invaluable support coming from Simon Gale and Dale Armitage. Chesterton are one of the better batting units in Division Five and they put up an excellent response, but seeking to emulate his father’s performance, Dan Willett picked up a very good 4-37 to chip away at the home side’s order. In the end, a close match went right to the wire and despite Graham White’s 88, Chesterton fell three runs short to give Horwood a victory that strengthened their league position.

With three of their main bowlers unavailable, the 3rd XI match against top of the table Garsington was always going to be a tall order and this was eventually crucial as the visitors chased down Horwood’s total for the loss of just one wicket.

Batting first, Horwood lost a wicket in the first over, but Peter McHenry and 14-year-old Henry Sweeney put together a good partnership against some good quick bowling. Following McHenry’s departure, a good partnership with Jack Goodger lifted them to 75-2, but quick wickets followed and when the prolific Sweeney was finally out for another excellent 45, Horwood were in danger of not making 100.

Fortunately, the tail wagged and they made a respectable 138 all out to set a reasonable target. With such a depleted bowling attack, it was always going to be difficult to force a win and Garsington easily knocked off the runs required for the loss of just one wicket. Thirteen-year-old Matt Glendinning took the one wicket to fall, while his school colleague Aaron Choat kept wicket very tidily on his senior debut. The 3rds remain in third place in Division 11. This weekend sees a double header against Horley, with Great Horwood 1st XI visiting Horley in a crucial match for the home side, while the 2nd XI entertain Horley II at Nash Road in a match that could decide who finishes in fourth place in Division 5.

>>Sunday sees the inaugural Ladies v Gents Challenge Match taking place at Great Horwood.