Willet’s half century keeps Horwood in promotion hunt

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IT was a triple success for Great Horwood as the summer weather returned last Saturday.

The 1sts entertained Tetsworth in a must win game for skipper Sam Willett’s team in their drive to secure their Division 1 status.

Tetsworth batted first and found themselves in trouble against some good bowling from Matt McStraw and Adam Armitage, with McStraw finding his best form of the season in a very tight opening spell that saw the visitors lose four early wickets.

A good fifth wicket stand helped Tetsworth add 90 runs, before Dale Armitage took a magnificent diving return catch to dismiss the visitors number six. With Neil Wilkins (3 for 33) wheeling away from the road end and Armitage (3 for 17) continuing to pick up wickets, Tetsworth’s innings eventually trickled to 145 all out.

Tetsworth opened with spin from both ends, a tactic that worked well for them as Horwood struggled to get the ball away, but skipper Willett was still at the crease, playing with his customary aplomb and when young Armitage joined him, the partnership flourished.

When Willett was on 56, a Tetsworth misfield gave the opportunity for an extra run, but turning quickly caused Willett to pull his hamstring and he was forced to retire hurt. Armitage (46) and Simon Ridgway took their side to the brink of victory before both were out. There were no further dramas though as Horwood won by five wickets to secure 30 points.

The downside of this victory was that skipper Willett was unable to play in the Airey Cup semi-final against Shrivenham the next day – a huge blow to the team. After deciding to bat first, Horwood lost three quick wickets for just seven.

Phil Aconley (29) and Jack Wilkins (25) put the innings back on some form of footing, but both were out looking to increase the run rate.

Attempts to score quick runs failed and Horwood found themselves all out for just 121. This was never likely to challenge Shrivenham, who secured an eight wicket win.

The 2nd XI travelled to Brill for their Division 5 game. Brill batted first and struggled against James Waddington as they collapsed to 10-5. A quick 43 from Brill’s number six lifted his side briefly but Waddington (5-29) finished them off as the innings closed on a poor 81 all out. Ben Jones (30 not out) helped earn Horwood an eight wicket victory.

The 3rd XI entertained Risinghurst II at Padbury. Mark Hogston (5-10) and Paul Wilson (5-31) were on fire as Risinghurst collapsed to 46 all out. Jack Goodger and Peter McHenry knocked off the bulk of the runs and despite losing two wickets, Horwood secured an easy win.

This weekend sees the 1sts entertain Charlbury, while the 2nds travel to Wantage Town. The 3rd XI travel to play Kilkenny II and the weekend is completed with a friendly fixture against touring side Harrow Wayfarers on Sunday.

Great Horwood Juniors won all three of their recent matches. The Under 15s won a close encounter with Grange Park by just four runs.

Alex Kelsey and Robin Justice enabled Horwood to post a modest 84-8, which was eventually enough as some excellent fielding and tight bowling restricted the visitors to 80 off their 20 overs.

In an end of season friendly, a mixture of Under 11, 12 and 13s visited Twyford, where the Horwood bowlers dismissed Twyford for 45. Callum Turner (25) and Henry Seaton (18 not out) saw their side to a nine wicket victory.

Sunday saw the Under 11s make the trip to play Aylesbury in a friendly. Ted Richardson-Wells batted first and in partnership with Matty Hodges (12) got his side off to a great start before his enforced retirement on 25. Jake Hogston then hit 28 retired as Horwood made 128 for 3 off their 20 overs. Aylesbury ended on 90 for 7, leaving Horwood the winners by 38 runs.