Northchurch began their 2016 National Village Cup campaign with an impressive victory at home to Premiership side Botany Bay.
Botany bay won the toss and elected to bat on a great looking pitch, but Northchurch’s opening Bowlers Ollie Johnson and Lee Johnson started well.
They kept things tight early on but some decent shots from Botany Bay’s highly rated opener Kasey Harris kept the board ticking over.
Eventually, after five tight overs, Lee Johnson made the breakthrough and picked up the Bay opener Muschamp for 7. In walked Shah batting at 3.
The second wicket partnership had just started to get going when Mark Hobley got one to bounce on Harris and he was grabbed at backward point by skipper Button.
The dangerous Harris had gone for 32, and this brought Bay skipper Chris Marching to the middle briefly before Hobley had him caught behind well by Matt Suckling for just 4.
Hobley was soon at it again, taking out the Bay no 5’s middle pole for just 3. Northchurch were on top and the game had swayed in their favour as Hobley finished with figures of 9 overs, 3 for 32 - showing real class with the ball.
Shah was batting well at 3 and looked the only real danger. Some excellent bowling from Calum Lindsay and Dave Pearce kept the pressure on Bay, and Lindsay was unlucky not to pick up Shah as he twice had him dropped in the deep on 46 and 48.
Northchurch again dropped him on 72 and were kicking themselves when he finally fell for 96.
Lee Johnson came back and bowled well at the death to end with three wickets, and Botany Bay finished on 191 from 40 overs.
In reply Northchurch started solidly with a steady opening stand of 40 between Pearce (19) and Matt Suckling (18).
George Liveing looked good again before being stumped for 26, and the normal Northchurch run machine Hobbers fell for just 8.
In walked Theo Gayton who batted with real class and, in a brilliant partnership with Tom Calder (41 n/o) saw Northchurch home with four balls to spare.
Gayton’s 62 n/o just oozed class, with four straight sixes and excellent running between the wickets ensuring Northchurch’s victory was in safe hands.
A long way to go to Lords yet but it has been whispered a few times at the club since Sunday’s famous victory.