STAND-IN skipper Jamie Alford said his side’s three-wicket loss to leaders Ombersley Seconds could have been avoided, but praised the Himbleton bowling display in their Worcestershire County League Division Two clash.
Himbleton were dismissed in the 44th over after posting a 143 run total, and despite the likes of Greg Dale (4-33) and Paul Guy (3-11) recording impressive bowling statistics, found themselves beaten in the 37th over.
Alford believes that his side would have claimed victory, had several Himbleton batsmen not lived out short stints at the crease.
“It was another fine effort from the bowlers defending an inadequate total,” he said.
“We gave away four or five wickets with incredibly soft dismissals and we just needed to apply ourselves a bit more to get between 180 and 200 runs, which would have been a winning score.”
Stuart Dickenson hit a top-score of 57 during the match, catching the eye of the stand-in captain and earning him some praise.
“Dicko continues to defy his age and his innings was crucial to give us at least something to play with,” said Alford.
“We let them get away at the start and if a couple of decisions had gone our way early on, who knows what would have happened.”
After winning the toss, visitors Himbleton went into bat first, losing opener Jon Critchlow (10) at 18-1, before Richard Pretty (14) fell shortly after at 41-2.
Alistair Pretty (30) and Dickenson helped double their side’s score prior to the former being caught and bowled by Ryan D’Oliveira.
It left the brunt of the scoring down to the veteran, who was tasked with trying to guide the depleted batting order to a positive total.
Despite passing the half-century mark with the help of Jamie Alford (6), Jem Rose (1) and Tom Godwin (14), Dickenson was gone in the sixth wicket at 138-6 – prompting a remarkable collapse to the Himbleton innings.
Rob Perrins (0), Godwin, Dale (0) and Paul Guy (0) soon followed their talisman into the pavilion, leaving the visitors with an uphill battle to try and defend their 143 total.
The hosts impressed through opener Tom Oakley’s (51) batting display, taking his side to 81-2, before his dismissal led to a scare for the league leaders.
Wickets from Dale and Guy, aided by two stunning catches from A Pretty, threatened to derail the innings, but had an experienced head in Azmat Riaz (19 not out) to help guide them over the line to victory.
Himbleton must pick themselves back up and look for a winning response when taking on bottom-side Bartestree & Lugwardine on Saturday (1pm).