Thornton sees Spa home after maiden five-wicket haul

Grant Thornton claimed his maiden five-wicket haul for Leamington in their four-wicket win over Walsall.
Grant Thornton claimed his maiden five-wicket haul for Leamington in their four-wicket win over Walsall.

Leamington put the disappointment of the previous week’s defeat to Old Hill behind them with an emphatic and professional four-wicket victory against a very strong Walsall side in Birmingham League Division One.

Winning the toss, Walsall chose to bat first but lost wickets at regular intervals as they failed to come to terms with the home attack.

There was an early wicket for Tom Warner (1-54) but Leamington’s star man was once again Grant Thornton who, in an excellent opening spell, removed four of Walsall’s top six batsmen.

Matthew Davison (1-24) then had the dangerous Tim Maxfield (30) caught behind in his first over to put the visitors in deep trouble at 120 for six.

Faisal Khalid (3-10) blew away the lower order before Thornton returned to claim the final wicket of the innings and complete his maiden five-wicket haul for the club.

Thornton finished with five for 46 from his 14 overs as Walsall’s innings ended on a disappointing 156.

In reply, the home side got off to a great start as Shahbaz Alam and Zack Fagg (25) put on 55 for the first wicket.

The introduction of Paul Byrne (17-6-27-4) slowed the scoring down during a fine spell of spin bowling and he was well supported by Edward Denham (2-17).

However, Alam (57) ensured there were no further alarms before Mark Ashcroft (20 not out) and Thornton (21 not out) saw Spa to a comfortable four-wicket victory which lifted them to second in the table.

Leamington 2nds’ lack of bowling depth came back to haunt them as they suffered a seven-wicket defeat to Wolverhampton.

Leamington batted first for the sixth consecutive match and soon found themselves struggling at 37 for three.

The rebuilding of the innings was began by the returning David Hawkes (33) who looked in ominous form before being trapped lbw.

The revival continued through skipper Jason Butler and Jimbo Williams who put on 149 to push Leamington on to a respectable 264 for five.

Butler played with his usual grit and determination to score 53 not out, with the more aggressive Williams’ 102 including some excellent strokeplay and aggressive running.

Once again Leamington failed to exert any pressure on the batsmen early in the innings due to some wayward bowling.

The introduction of Steve Dyer began to restrict the flow of runs and opening bowler Jason Butler found his rhythm, with his 15 overs going for just 51 runs.

With 20 overs remaining, the run rate was close to 6.5 and Leamington were looking the more likely winners.

However, some disappointing bowling and poor fielding cost Leamington, with Adam Lawley (71 not out) carrying on the good work of Amritpal Singh (89) as Wolverhampton chased down the target with five overs and seven wickets to spare.