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SKIPPER Jody Lawrence led from the front with an outstanding 145 and a return of 3-20 as Poulton 2nds eased to a 73-run triumph away to St Phillips North on the long awaited opening day of the Greene King IPA Gloucestershire County League season.

Lawrence, who opened after losing the toss, plundered 10 fours and 11 sixes to dominate his side’s challenge of 251-7 and then did his bit with the ball as North came up short.

This was the only game to be completed in the 2020-only C East division on a day when wet weather  affected many matches as cricket made its long awaited return.

The County League has redrawn its competitions for a Coronavirus-curtailed seven-week campaign which will see no promotion or relegation before a hoped-for return to regular competition next year.

In C South, meanwhile, Whitminster rallied from an unpromising 1-3 at home to A38 rivals Stone to reach 185-6 off 35 thanks to the efforts of Jack Price (104) and skipper Lewis Cook (53).

The visitors then came up 19 runs short despite captain Pete Lavis’ 45.

Westbury-on-Severn held their nerve for an exciting last over three-run victory away to Redmarley in the A West division.

Alex Gray’s 53 (five fours, three sixes) was the highlight of the visitors’ challenge of 164 after losing the toss as Sam Aston captured 4-23 and James Holland 3-20.

Aston, who then opened Redmarley’s innings, followed up with a patient 53 in an opening stand of 67 with Rob Gummer (34) before Greg Artus (4-30), Dan Hockaday (3-19) and Arron Brown (3-44) got to work.

Uzair Salehbhai (58 not) and Uzair Bhaiyat (45) shone in Gloucester AIW Sports’ five-wicket victory at Cinderford St John, for whom opener Nigel Cartwright contributed 69.

And Aston Ingham completed a five-wicket home win over Tewkesbury, James Benn unbeaten on 63 after Wade Ridsdale had earlier crunched 96 off 76 balls (15 fours, three sixes) for the visitors.

Captain Dan Huxstep’s unbeaten 57 saw Frampton-on-Severn to a six-wicket home success in A South over Oldlands while Cam held on for a five-run home success over Hawkesbury Upton and Rockhampton 2nds defeated Frocester 3rds by five wickets.

No results were possible in A East on a day when rain affected the great majority of matches but three games were completed in B West, including a 41-run win for Woodpeckers away to Newent  with opener Tom Stevens (64) and Andy Ruxton (4-25) both shining.

Mahesh Shetty (92) and Iqbal Ahmed (35) shared an unbroken opening stand of 141 for Ullenwood Bharat who powered their way to a ten-wicket thumping of Gloucester 2nds, and Corse & Staunton 2nds edged their Lydney counterparts by 40 runs.

There was just one result in B East, Sheepscombe completing a two-wicket home triumph over Minchinhampton with three balls to spare.

The weather was kinder to teams in C West with all four games reaching a conclusion. Paul Scales (89 not) and Ivor Griffiths (78) helped Churchdown pile up 251-6 away to Hatherley & Reddings 3rds who came up 86 runs short despite Jim Green’s 69.

Kingsholm 2nds were four-wicket victors at Down Hatherley, Parkend edged Aston Ingham 2nds by five wickets and Apperley 2nds romped in by 82 runs at Westbury-on-Severn 2nds.

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