WILLOUGHBY made light work of beating visitors Castlethorpe at The Green with a comfortable six wicket victory in the South Northants League Division One.
Home skipper Ian Hughes maintained his 100 per cent record with the toss and inserted the visitors which proved a good move as three quick wickets fell initially against the bowling of veteran James Barnwell and close season capture Nick Crane who continues to impress week by week.
A steady partnership built and then escalated quickly, before Crane took the free swinging number four batsman with a LBW in his last over to finish with figures of 2 for 15.
The removal of the visitor’s stubborn opener first ball after the drinks break followed by Ashley Rayner taking a high caught and bowled continued Willoughby’s dominance.
Hughes then brought his spinner Dave Alcock on for the first time this year, and despite the first over going for ten, the gnarly old pro came back with spectacular impact, taking the last four wickets to finish with figures of 4 for 11 off his four overs.
Waqas Ali Asghar with 18 and Mark Currell 28 the only batsmen with scores of note for the visitors as they were bowled out for 94, the fifth time this season already WCC have taken ten wickets in a match.
In reply, the home side’s track record with the bat this year has not mirrored that with the ball so there was a sense of trepidation even chasing such a low score.
Martin Nichols and Rayner opened but the former fell cheaply as did next-in Alcock who failed to trouble the scorers. Stuart Hall joined Rayner and the run rate picked up before Hall fell for 15, and then Rayner quickly after for 19.
At 45 for 4 it looked like the famous Willoughby collapse could strike, however Graham Hallam and 17-year-old Tom Stevenson batted with maturity beyond their years and saw the side home without any further concern, making 23 not out and 22 not out respectively to seal victory for the hosts.
The win leaves Willoughby in sixth place but just three points off third place as once again the Division One table shapes up to be a tight affair.