PROUD captain Richard Sugden praised the endeavours of his depleted Himbleton side, despite their 102-run defeat to joint-leaders Lye.
Himbleton were missing six key players but still picked up seven points in a Worcestershire County League Division Two match reduced to 20 overs.
The majority of the club’s top-order batsmen were absent, but Jem Rose (4-37) and Stuart Dickenson (48) led the way with the ball and bat.
After Lye finished on 192-7, Himbleton were all out for 90 in their reply, but accrued extra points for their bowling and batting performances to keep them in fifth place in the standings.
Himbleton hope to bounce back when they host Enville on Saturday (1pm), with a full-strength side to choose from.
Alford said he always felt the trip to Lye would be a tough ask in the circumstances, but was delighted to secure some bonus points.
“It was always going to be an uphill struggle taking a scratch side to the league leaders,” he said.
“But I was really proud of the way the lads stuck to the task, particularly those that helped out.
“The bowlers all put in a great shift, especially Jem Rose, and if it wasn’t for Stuart Dickenson’s classy knock we wouldn’t have nabbed so many valuable bonus points in defeat.
“I’m already looking forward to the rematch later in the season when we’ll have a full squad to pick from.”
Winning the toss and batting first, Lye’s batters began confidently. Openers Nadeem Hussain (32) and Wasim Ashiq (45) hit a first-wicket partnership of 79, before Rose’s introduction as the fifth bowler began to slow the stream of Lye runs.
He dismissed the two openers, before later removing Waqas Ahmed (19) and Azhar Naeem (0).
Greg Dale, Rob Perrins and Jeremy Pilgrim all took a wicket each, but Lye, boosted by 22 from Ratnesh Sahni and 18 from Gurpreet Singh, finished with a commanding total.
Himbleton’s innings started disastrously, with Sugden (6) and Jeremy Pilgrim (0) both gone at 7-2.
Perrins (10) and Dickenson shared a third-wicket partnership of 53 to rally the innings, before departing to leave them 85-4.
Of the remaining batsmen, only Rose (13), Richard Lacey (2) and Dale (1 not out) could add to the scorecard, with Ahmed (4-14) collecting four wickets in the space of an over to finish off Himbleton for 90 in the 17th over.