IT WAS a day to forget for Willoughby after they fell to a disappointing eight-wicket defeat on the road at the hands of Byfield in the South Northants League Division One.
Doubts over the surface of a questionable looking wicket proved to be well founded and it meant winning the toss could be crucial. Willoughby lost it and having been inserted to bat the wicket proved tough for the first 40 overs of the game.
Struggling at 48 for 4 off 24 overs, the visitors recovered with Nick Crane and Tom Stevenson steadily negotiating the next ten overs before the latter was bowled for 20 trying to up the run rate.
The situation looked quite perilous at 85 for 7 but Crane started to pick off the bowling and spread the field making a fine 37 before being caught in the deep, and with the help of lower order batsmen the visitors made matters look respectable taking the eventual score to 135 for 8.
The less said about the reply the better as the pitch dried up and Byfield’s Gareth Andrews proceeded to tuck into the visitors at time inconsistent bowling.
Crane got the first wicket for Willoughby with a catch behind but after that it was all one way traffic.
The home side’s Josh Eyles escaped in somewhat controversial fashion, being caught at mid off before being swiftly called back by the home umpire as he claimed he was not ready.
The injustice of his reprieve appeared to have side effects to the visitors attack and at times desperate fielding.
Changes in bowling tried to break the partnership but the runs were plundered easily, and despite Crane returning to finish off his allotted overs by clean bowling Eyles for 52 to complete figures of 2 for 32, by then it was too late and Andrews hit the winning runs to finish on 73 not out.