Top two falter
The top two clubs crashed to defeat in the Standard Bank Premiership on Saturday. Crosby beat leaders Ramsey in a close match at Marown while second placed Cronkbourne lost to local rivals Valkyres.
Put in to bat by northern skipper Eddie Cleator, Crosby got away to a slow start and were stalled at 28 for 2 after ten overs. Danny Kniveton and Jack Rowlands then rallied the middle order before Rowlands was run out for 22.
Jacob Hicklin hit 21, but it was left to Kniveton with a well struck 53 to guide his side to 166 for 7 from their forty overs. In an aggressive attack, there were two wickets each for Chris McConnell and Jamie Moffatt.
In reply the northerners made a dreadful start, losing both openers before the total reached double figures. Rob Webber and Moffatt improved their fortunes and at 72 for 3 the game was in the balance.
Spinner Harry Rothwell came on and swung the match towards Crosby. He dismissed Moffatt for an excellent 29 and then had Ashley Webster caught for 21. Rothwell ended his eight over spell with a splendid haul of 5 for 33.
With Ramsey on 118 for 9, the match seemed almost over. However Shaun Kelly and Charlie Whipp had other ideas. In a defiant last wicket stand, they put on 28 runs before Kelly was brilliantly stumped by Ricky Kniveton from the bowling of Chris Shimmin.
Kelly had made 31 and at the end Whipp was undefeated on eight. The margin of victory was only twenty runs and there were many nervous fans from both sides. Shimmin ended with two wickets and there was fine bowling from Dave Picken who also held some vital cashes in the deep.
The Valkyres’ batsmen returned to form when they made 189 in their local derby against Cronkbourne at Tromode. Andy Stokes cracked an excellent 58 while Tom Reader was in form with 47.
At one stage the side were 165 for 2, but then collapsed in a mad chase for runs as their overs ran out. Alex Stokoe took full advantage with a dramatic return of 6 – 24. There were also wickets for Matt Ansell and Ryan Burns.
The Cronkbourne batsmen made a cautious start, but after twenty overs they were still in the game at 74 for 4. An injured Carl Wagstaffe, aided by a runner, hit 24, but the lower order succumbed to the wiles of Andy Coulson. His crafty spin yielded three wickets for just eight runs as the innings folded on 110.
Valkyres won by 79 runs and this convincing win leaves them well placed to push for the title. Together with Crosby, they are just two points behind head of the table Ramsey, but both challengers have a game in hand. This could lead to an exciting battle for the top honours.
Standard Bank Premiership
Crosby 166 for 7 (Danny Kniveton 53, Jack Rowlands 22 : Chris McConnell 2 -30, Jamie Moffatt 2 -40); Ramsey 146 (Jamie Moffatt 29, Rob Webber 21 : Harry Rothwell 5 -33, Chris Shimmin 2 -24). Crosby won by 20 runs.
Valkyres 189 (Andy Stokes 58, Tom Reader 47 : Alex Stokoe 6 -24, Matt Ansell 2 -29); Cronkbourne 110 (Carl Wagstaffe 24, Alex Stokoe 18 : Andy Coulson 3 -8, Darren Cain 2 -19). Valkyres won by 79 runs.
Castletown v St John’s : Match postponed – to be re-arranged.
© Isle of Man Cricket Association & CricketEurope