SKIPPER Pieter Swanepoel blamed reckless batting for Woodlands’ first defeat of the season – a result that cost them the leadership of the First Division.
Chasing visitors Pudsey St Lawrence’s modest total of 141 on a slow pitch, Woodlands went down by ten runs, bowled out for 131 in the last over after a tense and fluctuating match.
Swanepoel said: “We worked hard enough in the first innings and put in the effort with the ball, but threw it away with some reckless batting.
“We just needed someone to bat with our top scorer, Logan Weston. He showed us how to bat on this track. We needed someone to make a big partnership to carry us through – someone with discipline, responsibility and patience.
“Oliver Ashford’s innings of 27 at the end was important for them. They came out fighting and deserved to win.”
Few people gave St Lawrence much chance after the visitors struggled against an accurate Woodlands attack, collapsing from 72-1 to 106-8, with opener Adam Waite making 39 as slow left-arm bowler Chris Brice took 5-44 before Ashford’s bright knock earned them a batting point.
However, St Lawrence applied pressure of their own and Woodlands began to lose key wickets. Paceman Craig Wiseman trapped Sam Frankland at 39 and one run later there was another key dismissal, free-scoring Duncan Snell run out after slipping and falling in the middle of the pitch after being sent back as he attempted a quick single.
Wiseman trapped Simon Mason lbw ten runs later and when Brice pulled leg spinner Tom Hudson into Mark Robertshaw’s hands at mid-wicket at 84-5 doubts about Woodlands’ victory prospects began to emerge.
Swanepoel joined Weston when the sixth wicket fell at 96, restoring some order with a partnership of 21 before Woodlands suffered a double blow. Swanepoel was bowled by Watts at 117 – one of four wickets for the off-spinner. Then Weston, who scored a patient 57 while wickets fell around him, was caught on the extra cover boundary off Watts one run later.
The big-hitting Sarfraz Ahmed, so often Woodlands’ saviour with bat as well as ball, struck a massive six off paceman Richie Lamb only to be bowled with the next delivery – the ninth wicket to fall – and St Lawrence took the last wicket with four balls remaining to set the seal on a remarkable victory.
Skipper James Smith, whose shrewd use of his varied attack played a big part in the win, said: “A score of 141 gave us a chance and Oliver Ashford’s innings at a really tough time gave us impetus. We got ourselves back in the game and we took wickets at important times.”