CRICKET: BIG spending Aston Manor proved too strong for Hampton and Solihull on Saturday in their Warwickshire Premier Division clash.
After a week of wet weather the pitch displayed a green tinge – and skipper Tim Keyte won the toss and opted to bowl, hoping to make the most of early conditions.
The home side’s openers Recordo Gordon and David Yeend built a partnership of 77 for the first wicket, with Gordon throwing caution to the wind and taking advantage of the short boundaries.
He made a 55-ball 63 before top edging a catch to Matt James off the bowling of Asif Patel.
Patel (65/3) took the next two wickets to fall with successive balls as James executed a smart leg-side stumping to dismiss David Yeend (40).
That was before Shaun Findley cut his first ball straight into the hands of Keyte at cover point to leave Manor at 125/3.
Adam Nevitt (45) and Russell Guy (36) rebuilt and took the score towards 200 before Keyte introduced himself into the attack to great effect.
The skipper took the next five wickets with Masood Iqbal (20) the only other man to reach double figures in the Manor middle order.
Some late order hitting saw the home side reach a challenging total of 262/9 – Keyte leading from the front with figures of 51/5.
In reply, Hampton and Solihull started poorly as Chris Hughes (6) was caught off the bowling of Gordon.
Safian Shakil (22) and Johanghir Khan (42) made good headway before Shakil was trapped LBW.
The economical Iqbal (35/1) then had Khan well caught by Adam Nevitt to leave Hampton struggling at 74/3.
Zain Siddiqui and Patel were unable to arrest the slide as they fell to Shaun Carroll (29/1) and Junior Johnson (38/1) respectively before the retuning Gordon trapped Chris Mason LBW.
Matt James and Faisal Iqbal (21) staged something of a recovery while James continued his good recent form with a counter-attacking 60 – seizing on anything short on his way to his fifth half-century of the season.
A change in the bowling saw Clement Smith (30/3) return to the attack.
He was rewarded with three wickets in as many overs as he first bowled Iqbal, before Arslan Amin and then James fell caught behind.
Gordon (39/4) then brought himself back on to pick up the final wicket, meaning Hampton were bowled out in the 42nd over for 176.
Keyte said: “It was a disappointing result.
“A par score was probably nearer 220, but we were a little below par with the ball and in the field.
“Matt and Johangir batted well again but being five down at drinks was a difficult position to mount a serious chase from.
“We have a couple of big games over the next fortnight against Bablake and Studley which we will need to improve for.”
Hampton are now ninth in the Warwickshire Premier Division.
Picture: Manjit Narotra.