19th May, 2019

Droitwich Spa Seconds fight off Cookley challenge to lift league crown

Craig Gibbons 20th Sep, 2017

DROITWICH Spa Seconds held their nerve in a winner-takes-all clash against Cookley to lift the Worcestershire County League Division Two Second XI title.

Cookley took the winning draw but it wasn’t enough for them to overhaul Spa, who went into the fixture with a 19-point lead.

After being put into bat, the home side went on the offensive as they sought to set a big score, declare and receive extra overs to try and bowl their rivals out.

However, those plans were scuppered when Carl Thomson removed the dangerous Ben Quinlan for 43 and fellow opener Dan Southam in the same over.

Jonathan Stanaway made 80 but Spa’s bowlers wrestled back some control as Cookley could only post 205-8 and were crucially forced to bat out all but one ball of their innings.

Thomson returned 3-44 and Martin Woodward claimed two wickets from his 17-over spell, whilst Ollie Sankey bowled superbly to pick up 2-39 from his 12 overs.

On a docile track, openers James King and Martin Keen were rarely troubled and the solid start they provided was then built on by a defiant third-wicket stand between Paul Bryan and Ash Walton, who saw off Cookley’s eight bowlers to edge their side closer to the title.

There were some minor jitters when both fell in successive balls for 46 and 36 respectively before Thomson and Adam Keen comfortably saw out the remaining overs as Droitwich closed on 144-4 and were crowned champions.

Already relegated, the Firsts ended a disappointing summer on a high with a four-wicket win over Cookley – a result which deprived their opponents of second place in the Division One table.

Cookley were shot out for 132 as Phil Thomas ran through their top order in a brilliant spell of 5-34 in 17 overs.

Martyn Davies claimed 3-36 and there was also another wicket for Matt Gurr as he enjoyed his second outing with their senior side.

Droitwich replied in their usual positive manner after losing Davies early, with Ash Fearnall and Max Young scoring quickly – the latter going on to make 51.

With just 14 runs needed, the rain intervened and threatened to deprive Spa of their victory.

When the umpires gave the go-ahead for a resumption and a final three overs of play, it look the home side 11 balls to reach their target as they finished the season on an encouraging run of four wins in six games to provide plenty of optimism for next season and an immediate return to the top flight.

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