Tough start to the season for Ashford

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Ashford-in-the-Water had a tough-looking start to their reintroduction to YDCL Division One cricket against 2012 Champions Sheffield University Staff, eventually losing by 68 runs.

Winning the toss was promising on a damp strip and two quick wickets from Martin Rix (2-21) settled any early Ashford nerves. When a third wicket fell to Adam Yarwood (1-28) with the score on just 22, Ashford could sniff an upset.

But a 37 run partnership between Paul Kerry (29) and Chiraag Pandya (16) steadied the Staff ship.

This partnership was broken by skipper Cameron Higginbottom who accounted for four of the middle order batsmen to finish with 4-33, to once again leave the visitors struggling on 64-6.

However, Peter Mountstephen (19) followed by Mohamed Shaad Shibly (31) together with David Beech (24*) rescued the innings allowing SUS to reach a respectable total of 139 from their allotted overs.

John Carrington (1-27) was Ashford’s other wicket-taker.

Ashford’s reply began steadily enough, but two quick wickets on 24 rocked the already fragile batting line-up.

Simon Davies (23) led the way, but when he was out with the score on 38-4, the home side were in danger of an embarrassing total, as Mayank Sharma (3-19), Lasith Nuranga De Silva (3-12) and Shaad Shibly (4-15) took full advantage of the conditions.

However, a rear-guard action from Yarwood (28*) ensured a small measure of respectability as the home side secured a point.

Ashford’s misery was complete when the heavens opened in what would have been a game-ending deluge before the players had even left the field of play.

Ashford’s next task doesn’t look much easier, as they entertain the most successful team in the league’s history - Parkhead.