Tolley eyes 2,000 run season for Tipton

Tipton maintained their winning ways with two convincing victories at the weekend.

Tipton maintained their winning ways with two convincing victories at the weekend. Yet again, Phil Tolley starred with the bat, and now needs only two more for 2,000 runs this season, while the bowlers demonstrated the virtues of line and length in dismissing two capable sides for modest totals.

Dorset tourists Sixpenny Handley have a good record against Tipton, but struggled to make inroads into a determined batting line-up led by vice-captain Kevin Jones, skippering his first ever game.

Jones and Tolley's partnership of 110 for the second wicket laid the foundation for the win. Jones' second innings of the season again began cautiously before he began finding gaps in the field, eventually to hole out for a well-made and patient 43.

Tolley continued to accumulate relentlessly, ruthlessly dispatching the bad ball to the boundary in his ninth 100 of the season. He received steady support from Jem Gillham in a 52 run fourth wicket partnership which took the final score to 199-3.

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Jones opened the attack with 10 overs from Paul Williamson and David Birch, which yielded only 25 runs and put enough pressure on the batsmen to chance their arms with Dave O'Higgins and Mark Channon. Channon struck first when he bowled Wright off his pads and, within six overs, the visitors had crumbled to 53-5. Channon's persistent wicket-to-wicket line yielded three wickets, O'Higgins chipped in with one and Matt Williamson hit the stumps for a brilliant run-out.

Jones turned next to Tolley and 14 year-old Dylan Jessop and it was the youngster's excellent line and length which caught the eye in a tight four-over spell. Tolley bowled Goodlife as he sought to rebuild the innings and then it was left to Gillham to clean up the tail with four wickets in two overs (three bowled and one smartly taken behind by Dave Dawson) leaving the visitors on 85 all out.

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l Sunday's visit to Newton St Cyres followed a similar pattern. A commanding total was built on an excellent 87 from Tolley, but the score on his departure in the 28th over was a modest 138-5 with the tail wide open. That the total reached 214-8 was due to some welcome application from Joe Birch, who contributed 19, and especially Channon, with an assured 29 not out. O'Higgins and David Birch played their part aiding and abetting him in partnerships of 27 and 25 for the eighth and ninth wickets to leave the hosts with a difficult target.

The target became virtually impossible after an accurate opening spell from the two Birches, which reduced Newton to 23-3. Joe was quick and hostile, but it was David who reaped the rewards, with two lbws and one clean bowled to finish with 3-14 from six overs. O'Higgins and Channon took up the attack and again maintained a nagging line and length which produced 2-22 for Channon and O'Higgins' 50th wicket of the season. The remarkable 73-year-old capped a memorable day with a stunning full length catch at cover point off Channon.

The game was sealed when John Rodgers entered the fray to claim the last four wickets for 19 runs (one courtesy of a sharp catch by Chris Mason) in a great five over spell to reduce Newton St Cyres to 120 all out.

This total scarcely did justice to their ability, but was an excellent reflection on a superb Tipton fielding and bowling performance.

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