Means keeps Apperley's title hopes burning
APPERLEY kept their faint hopes of Gloucestershire Division title success alive with victory in a low-scoring thriller against Bredon at School Lane.
In a game reduced, but not wiped out by bad weather, Apperley successfully defended their total of 188 all out, thanks to a fine performance from spinner Hugh Leeke.
But it was stand-in opener Dave Means who was the hero for the hosts, clubbing his first ever league half century in an opening stand that would prove crucial.
Having won the toss, Bredon skipper Martin Hill elected to bowl first, banking on bowling the hosts out and having enough time to rattle off the runs. But Means and Jamie Batten had other ideas.
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It took the introduction of off-spinner Jon Gregory to stem the flow of runs as he had Batten caught by Simon Riches for 34. Rowan Leeke fell almost immediately afterwards, leg before to Matt Timms while Gregory had Chris King pouched by Lee Diamond for nine.
Means found some solid support from his skipper Rob Birch and the pair took the hosts towards respectability before both men fell to spin.
The Means experiment was a success as he struck 54 before Gregory (3-58) had him caught by Jamie Annand, while Hugh Leeke fell leg before to Ali Munro for just two.
Australian import Lachlan Busby offered a return catch to Diamond on just one and Andy O'Connor was pinned on his pads by the same bowler for just five.
Birch had made a fine quickfire 61 before he gave Munro a return catch, while Diamond completed fine figures of four for 11 by bowling Mark Williamson (1) and Sam Wheeler (0) to end the innings.
Means made a superb start to his bowling efforts, bowling opening batsman Kevin Wilkins for four while Jamie Munro departed to a Williamson catch off Busby for seven.
The Queensland pace ace accounted for Jamie Annand, via a O'Connor catch for 14 before the Leeke brothers took control.
Rowan (2-48) was first to strike, bowling skipper Hill for 19 and having Tim Fenney caught by Means for just five.
But it was Hugh who was the star turn, spinning a web that the Bredon tail could find no way out of as he bagged figures of four for 27 from ten overs.
Diamond departed to a double act from the brothers for a duck, Rowan the catcher off Hugh's bowling while Gregory made just six before picking out Chris King in the field.
Tim McVicker attempted a lone vigil in his attempt to get his side up towards a winning score, but he aimed one shot too many at Jamie Batten and was snaffled by Chris King for 48.
Hugh Leeke then secured the win, trapping Matt Timms in front for just six and bowling Simon Riches for four as Apperley secured a 61 run victory.