Lea batting resilience brings draw

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A more resilient batting display by Lea Park allowed them to hold out for a draw against high flying Cuckney II.

But a general lack of concentration in all departments again proved the difference on the day.

Cuckney made 206-9 thanks largely to Dave Taylor’s 92 at top of the innings.

It was Taylor’s turn this week’s to capitalise on Lea’s benevolence in the field as he was dropped behind in the first over off Andy Slater without scoring and three more times thereafter.

Slater kept his cool however to clean bowl the other opener in his next over to exact some revenge and then went on to conclude a decent opening seven-over spell.

Taylor anchored the innings as Gareth Price (32) and Mark Walker (31) formed useful partnerships to pressurise the Lea fielding.

Lack of awareness and concentration meant Lea’s fielding went downhill fast.

Misfields and dropped catches were caused by the batsmen’s positive intent and desire to get their heads down and run well between the wickets.

Despite missed chances throughout the game Andy Dewick claimed a contender for catch of the season off Chris Needham, diving backwards to take a skied shot from Cuckney’s Andy Stevenson.

Needham was called on to bowl the last nine overs from one end and also accounted for Taylor but importantly slowed the scoring at a key time.

Pick of the bowling was again Scott Woolley who took 2-21 from six overs.

Woolley looks capable of troubling most players when he get things right, which thankfully is becoming regular, and it’s clear he should now be bowling as much as possible.

A bonus for Lea was four overs from Jake Hutchinson who claimed a wicket first ball of his spell and proceeded restrict Cuckney’s onslaught.

Lea’s reply was fairly decent again with Lee Mardle (10) nudging away before being adjudged LBW.

But with Needham hitting the ball cleanly, Cuckney were forced into making a number of bowling changes.

Conor Tansley entered the fray with his variety of left arm off-spin and bowled exceptionally well to slow the scoring and when Needham (35) mistimed a drive he was caught well at backward point.

Andy Whiteley (13) had just played himself in before he fell to the same fate as Mardle and with Dewick, Woolley and Andy Orton all making double figures before getting out, Lea had every opportunity to make something of this game.

But the usual lack of application proved costly. Jake Hutchinson hit 24 not out towards the end to ensure another batting point.

A notable feature of this young, well drilled Cuckney side was its ability to keep alert for every ball which in turn ensured Lea’s batsmen could take nothing for granted and were made to work for their runs.