Midsomer Norton gave their promotion hopes a huge lift with victory over Winterbourne last Saturday. Top of the table with a healthy points advantage, a win for home side, Winterbourne, could have seen them well clear of their nearest challengers. But Norton put in perhaps their best batting performance of the season, chasing down 205 for victory in the final over.
Martin Cox anchored the innings again, notching an unbeaten 52, while Jon Harvey (42 not out) and Ben Strang (41) played uptempo knocks which thwarted Winterbourne’s bowling efforts. Dean Clifton and Alex Lear combined for the longest opening partnership of their season, lasting twenty overs before the two fell in successive overs. They blunted the opening attack, giving the Norton middle order a platform to take the game to the opposition.
It wouldn’t be a Norton batting effort without a collapse, however, as Norton went from 61–0 to 72–4, leaving Cox and Strang to combine in the middle. What followed was a fifty run partnership in which Strang belted the ball to the boundary with regularity. He fell in controversial fashion, allowing Harvey to arrive and take up the quick scoring with some glorious, risk-free cricket strokes. Cox was his usual calm self at the other end, facing 66 balls as he showed little sign of stress. He flicked one off his legs from the first ball of the fiftieth over to win the game.
Norton had restricted Winterbourne to just 204 on a decent batting wicket, having looked likely to give up 250 at one point in the innings. Winterbourne had a collapse of their own, going from 130–2 to 145–6 as Chris Hampshire and Captain, Nick Pang, delivered in a big way. Both bowlers ended with three wickets, while Strang, Martin Cox and Andy Cox picked up a wicket a piece.
Now in third place and seventeen points off the top spot, Norton will be hoping to continue their good run of form away at Knowle on Saturday. The game starts at 1 p.m. At Withies Lane, the Second XI take on Bedminster in a 1.30 p.m. start. The Third XI, hoping to build on last weekend’s three wicket victory over Carsons and Mangotsfield, are also at home against Old Bristolians Westbury. This fixture starts at 1.30 p.m. as well. The table-topping Sunday team take on third-placed Bristol Afghans at Withies Lane in a 2 p.m. start after last weekend’s eight wicket victory over Bradley Stoke.
Before the weekend fixtures, the U-19 Greencaps play their first home fixture of the season on Friday (7th July) against Chew Valley Lakers in the NatWest U-19 Club T20 competition. They then take on Hampset Scorpions at home on the following Friday, (14th July). Both games start at 6 p.m.