Willingham guides Shenley to victory

Five-wicket win puts Shenley in top five

SHL Division 2

Dunstable 138 Shenley Village 142-5

Shenley Village won by five wickets

SHENLEY Village continued their promising start to the new season with a good win at home to Dunstable.

On a sunny afternoon with showers forecast, the visitors won the toss and surprisingly elected to bat. On a lively and slightly green strip, the Shenley opening bowlers were able to keep the batsmen quiet in the early overs. The first wicket fell in the 15th over with the scoreboard showing 41 as Bhutiya - who top-scored for Dunstable with 29 - was caught behind by Matt Evans off paceman Rob Laney, playing his first match of the season.

Dave Shelley was then brought into the attack and struck in the fourth over of his return to first XI cricket after an absence of over four years to remove Custance, caught behind for 9. Shelley and Craig Rawlings both bowled economically to further stall any Dunstable revival and after 32 overs the score was on 72-3 - a scoring rate of less than three-per-over.

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Further wickets followed and with the Dunstable score on 88-4, the home side turned to spin from both ends - Dion Ebrahim’s off spin in partnership with Rifkhan Hameed’s leg spin doing the necessary damage, dismissing the visitors for 138.

Hameed ended with figures of 4-46, whilst Ebrahim and Shelley both finished with identical figures of 2-21. Wicket-keeper Matt Evans had a tremendous game behind the stumps, taking two catches and a couple of stumpings.

With a low target to chase and a strong batting line-up, Shenley were a little bemused to find themselves at 12-3 by the sixth over of the second innings with captain Anooj Vadgama and overseas player Dion Ebrahim both removed lbw for 1 and 0 respectively as Illyas and Hill bowled tight opening spells for Dunstable.

However, Shenley’s strength in depth showed as Rahul Gajjar and Lloyd Willingham dug in. Gajjar hit nine 4s and a six before he was run out for 56. With the score on 122 when the fifth wicket fell Willingham, joined by Rob Laney, quickly wrapped things up with rain clouds threatening. A boundary from Willingham (59*) brought the total to 142-5 and victory by five wickets for Shenley. Illyas was the best of the Dunstable bowlers with figures of 2-20.