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Royal London Club Championship off to flying start

The Royal London Club Championship first round was completed over the Bank Holiday weekend and there were some impressive displays with both bat and ball around the country.

The standout batting performance came in Wiltshire as Tom Morton hit an unbeaten 205 as South Wilts crushed Warminster by 188 runs. South Wilts’ 330 for four set Warminster a huge target and they were all out for 142 as South Wilts gained revenge for a defeat by the same opposition at this stage of the competition last season.

York also enjoyed a big win as players shone with both bat and ball in their victory over Whitburn. The Yorkshire Premier League side, who won this competition in 2012, started this season in great form as openers Jack Leaning (146 not out) and Simon Lambert (120) put on 241 for the first wicket in a score of 314 for four from their 45 overs. In reply, captain Daniel Woods did the damage with figures of 5-6 from 4.3 overs as Whitburn were all out for 88.

Other individual batting performances in round one were Alex Phillips' 149 not out in Leamington’s total of 199 for six in their four-wicket win against fellow Birmingham & District League side Barnt Green, Adil Nisar hitting 137 as Bolton League side Farnworth beat Alderley Edge and Chris Turner’s maiden century for Cheshire League side Urmston as they comfortably beat Atherton.

Batsmen did not have it all their own way as bowlers also produced some outstanding performances to win matches for their teams. James Stuart from Doncaster Town took 7-24 from 8.4 overs as they dismissed York & District League side Beverley for just 42 in a nine-wicket win and Sam Griffiths also enjoyed a seven-wicket haul with his best figures of 7-51 as Shrewsbury, looking to repeat their trip to the title they won in 2011, beat another Birmingham & District League side in Penkridge by 59 runs.

However, great bowling performances do not always result in a win as Keegan Monahan-Fairlie discovered as his 6-39 for Fakenham could not prevent his Norfolk Alliance League side losing out to East Anglian Premier League’s Vauxhall Mallards by 19 runs.

The all-round performance of the round must go to Glenn Yates in Elsecar’s 123-run win over Cleethorpes. Yates first hit 113 from 103 balls as he held together his team’s 219 for eight before going on to take 6-14 from eight overs to dismiss Cleethorpes for 96 as the South Yorkshire League side moved forward to the second round.

There were also a number of close finishes, no more so than at Ickenham in Middlesex as they won by one wicket with Sam Bensted, supported by the tail, hit an unbeaten 68 in their chase of 220 from 162 for seven as they edged past fellow Middlesex side Bessborough.

The second round takes place this Sunday with all teams playing for a place in the final, which this year will be held at the redeveloped Nevil Road ground in Bristol, home of Gloucestershire.

For more information about all the first round results and second round fixtures, go to the Royal London Club Championship Play-Cricket pages at http://play-cricket.com

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