Great Horwood continued their excellent start to the 2015 season with back-to-back wins over the weekend.
On Saturday, they claimed maximum points for the second successive week when they eased to a seven-wicket victory over Shrivenham in Division One of the OCA.
Bowling first, Adam Armitage made the early breakthrough before injury meant he was unable to bowl again, however his brother Dale kept the visitors in check with 10 overs that yielded just 10 runs.
Horwood continued to build pressure on the Shrivenham batsmen and Matt McStraw helped restrict them to 65-3 at the halfway stage.
Matt Thatcher came into the attack and did the bulk of the damage as he picked up regular wickets to finish with 5-55, while Armitage returned to take two late wickets and bowl the visitors out for 169.
In reply, Horwood lost Matt Thatcher early but Sam Willett joined Parker and the pair added 70 for the second wicket before Parker was stumped for 32, leaving the score on 84-2 when Andy Thatcher came to the crease and hit a brisk 14.
Dale Armitage was next in and joined Willett with 50 needed from nine overs and the pair had little trouble in seeing Horwood home as Armitage finished unbeaten on 16 while Willett compiled an excellent 77 to help his side earn the full 20 points.
Horwood then played in the preliminary round of the Airey Cup on Sunday when they took on Minster Lovell, who finished runners-up in the league last season.
Having lost the toss and been put into bat on a damp wicket, Horwood openers Stuart Parker and Matt Thatcher were watchful early on against some tight bowling and had moved the score to 26 before Thatcher was caught for 14.
Willett then departed cheaply before Parker’s fine knock of 56 came to an end while Horwood’s total was boosted by some superb late hitting from Josh Nix, who blasted 52 from just 17 scoring shots to take the total to 208-9 from their 45 overs, with McStraw unbeaten on 31.
Lovell made a disastrous start in reply and crumbled to 3-3 as Dale Armitage struck twice in his first over before wickets from Matt Thatcher (2-34) and Nix (2-14) resicted them to 68-5 and it was left to Neil Wilkins (4-23) to dismiss the lower order and give Horwood a victory by 103 runs and move into the next round as they look to win the cup for the first time in the club’s history.
To round off a great weekend for the club, the IIs recorded their first victory of the season with a seven-wicket win over Brill.
Ian Mcstraw (3-24), Simon Ridgway (2-28) and Neil Taylor (2-12) were all amongst the wickets as Brill posted 113-7 when batting first.
In reply, Pete McHenry (30 not out) and Simon Ridgway (42 not out) led their side to victory with seven wickets to spare.