Stroud 2ndv Apperley 2nd
By Oliver Holmes
Stroud welcomed Apperley to the SCG in glorious sunshine on Saturday and recorded an emphatic win to banish the memory of the heavy defeat the week before.
Overnight rain plus a keen breeze meant conditions seemed ideally suited to bowling and the home side duly inserted the visitors after winning the toss.
This move looked to be a good one after Gareth Haines removed opener Stuart Clutterbuck, caught by Aaron Collins for a duck. Clutterbuck’s opening partner Steve Best fared little better, Haines bowling him for nine on his way to magnificent figures of 9-4-15-2.
At the other end James Mason was working himself into a fine and hostile rhythm, bowling an excellent line just outside off-stump and unlucky to have a couple of edges dropped before producing a beauty to have Ben Morton (10) pouched at mid-off to return 9-1-33-1.
As wickets fell around him Apperley skipper David Steinham (25) dug in and built partnerships with Neil Meredith (18) and Matt Fairburn (29) to up the run rate and Apperley’s confidence before replacement pacemen Ryan Boucher (8-3-18-1) and Collins (6-0-19-1) ended the revival with some genuinely wonderful fast bowling.
With the tail exposed it fell to Chris Dutton (3-0-16-4) to wrap up the tail, only missing out on his five-for due to a fantastic Boucher run-out.
Set 124 to win the home side stuttered as a capricious wicket suddenly became hostile. Jason Flannery (5) was lbw to Marcus Ridal (7-1-33-3) and Pav Sharma (4), Nathan Moore (0) and skipper Ollie Holmes (4) all departed too quickly.
Sam Hewitt (28) then batted superbly, combining watchful defence with fulminating attack and took the fight back to the visitors before he too departed leaving Stroud not halfway to the total and five down.
As is often the case, experience wins games and so it proved once more. The sun came out, the pitch lost its oddities and Chris Dutton (27 n.o.) and Richard Cox (22 n.o.) calmly worked the opposition bowling excellently to canter Stroud past the asking target with five wickets and 17.3 overs to spare.
Star Man: Chris Dutton.