Ashford lose out to promotion rivals

Yorkshire & Derbyshire League

Ashford slipped to a narrow defeat against promotion rivals Sheffield Civil Service but remain 19 points clear at the top.

Opting to bowl first, the Civil Service openers Oakes (47) and Whitby started brightly. Both Adam Yarwood (2-38) and Joe Muir (0-46) bowled well but the score had reached 91 before Whitby was well caught by Dan Stewart off Cameron Higginbottom for 57.

The introduction of Higginbottom and Kev Rowney (1-29) aided by some athletic fielding saw the Civil Service run rate slow dramatically, seven wickets falling for the addition of a further 58 runs, Higginbottom with a season’s best of 5-52 in an excellent, controlled spell of slow bowling.

A late flourish by Steve Frier (14 not out) saw the home side finish on a respectable 180-8, but the target on a good batting track wasn’t out of reach by any means.

Ashford’s reply was always up with the run rate, with most batsmen getting starts, but unfortunately none going on to complete a match-winning innings.

Bentley (11), Higginbottom (22) and Davies (23) all had started to flourish with the bat when dismissed and with the loss of the dangerous Dan Stewart (39) with the score at 106-5 Civil Service had somehow manufactured themselves into a winning position.

Matt Fountain, however, had other ideas and assisted by some lower order resistance the score gradually accumulated and the finishing line crept closer.

But Civil Service’s Garry Brayshaw was to have the final say and completed an impressive afternoon’s work with figures of 6-29, Fountain the last man out for 27.