AFTER losing two quick wickets in the early part of the innings, the Leigh Thirds batsmen had to show some resolve and slowly put together a total to defend.

Although this was a turgid display and not very entertaining for the healthy crowd it was a case of needs must and anyone understanding the situation realised this.

Alex Roussak, who was opening the innings for the first time at this level, was the perfect foil for the more flamboyant Billy Banner and between them they put together a tremendous partnership of 97 which all but killed the earlier enthusiasm of the Newton players. It was hot, very hot, and the fielders were gradually worn down by the weather and the determination of Roussak and Banner.

There followed another couple of partnerships between the lower order batsmen which resulted in a declaration after fifty three overs with a total of 152 for 7.

The Newton captain chose to ignore the ECB fast bowling directive and let his opening under seventeens bowlers put down 18 overs before electing for the spin option. This helped the Leigh cause as the Newton opening bowlers tired quickly under the hot afternoon sun.

The Newton reply got off to a good start until Kieran Grundy took the first wicket off the last ball of his allotted overs leaving the Newton score on 37 for 1.

This brought the experienced Brookes to the wicket and Leigh knew they had a job to do. With his first delivery of the match leg spinner Alex Roussak surprised Brookes by bowling a straight one which took out his middle stump. Two balls later he had the other opening batsman removed by a catch at gully and this then exposed the middle order to the improving Billy Banner who took 5 wickets for 24.

As the last hour was called, the tiring Roussak was taken out of the attack and Grundy was reintroduced. With his first delivery he broke the partnership which was proving to become a nuisance to the Leigh side and in his very next over he took the last wicket through a good catch by youngster Robbie Millward to top an excellent weekend for the Millward family.

A special mention for Ray Vaughan the club President who volunteered to play after an unforeseen depletion of the team at 10pm the previous evening.