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Newbury suffered their first league defeat of the season at the hands of visiting Cove 2s on Saturday in a closely fought game at Northcroft.
Newbury skipper Mills won the toss and had no hesitation on opting to bat first on a well prepared wicket. Openers Anstey and Douglas both looked in good touch putting on 32 for the first wicket before Douglas was bowled by Dee with one that came back in. This then triggered a calamitous collapse of Newbury’s top and middle order as four more wickets fell without Newbury adding to the score. Anstey went first, adjudged lbw to opener Afredi quickly followed by Sastry, Uden and Raj Pal as Dee took an excellent hat-trick to leave Newbury reeling on 32 for 5.
Farrow and Harris then set about rebuilding the innings before Farrow went for 11 caught behind to leave Newbury still precariously placed on 71 for 6. By now though Harris looked set for a big score and began to steadily increase the tempo of his innings and start to dominate the bowlers. Harris finally went for an excellent 67 in the 44th over, an innings that included 5 fours and four sixes.
Ferguson (26), Mills (11 no) and Sat Pal with a quick fire 43 all made telling contributions in the last 10 overs, with Sat Pal in particular irresistible with a perfectly timed assault on the Cove attack to get Newbury to 203 for 9 at the end of their innings and maximum batting points.
In reply, Cove got off to a poor start as the Newbury opening attack of Raj Pal (2 for 24) and Vynatheya (1 for 24) used the new ball to good effect. Raj Pal was first to strike, forcing an outside edge off Taylor to Uden at slip. Vynatheya then trapped Carter lbw for 9 and Raj Pal struck again having Deawer caught behind and Cove were reduced to 23 for 3.
Randall and Roylance then put on 50 for the fourth wicket, and although Randall was bowled by Sat Pal for 26, Roylance began to look increasingly comfortable against the first change pairing of Mills and Anstey. At the other end, Tomsett started in scratchy fashion, playing and missing on a number of occasions. However the two batsmen put on a match telling 84 for the fourth wicket before Anstey forced Roylance to mis-cue a lofted drive to end an excellent innings of 80.
By now Tomsett was set and although Mills dismissed Short and Taylor and Anstey bowled Dee, Tomsett (61 no) steered Cove across the winning line with two wickets to spare. Mills finished with figures of 2 for 49 and Anstey 2 for 85.
Although Newbury ended the game with their first loss of the season, there we many positives for skipper Mills to take away. Not least was the recovery from 32 for 5 to a score of over 200 and another was the effort from all the bowlers supported by a team that refused to give up until the last ball.
This weekend sees Newbury travel to local rivals Thatcham.