James Askew hit his first hundred of the season on Saturday but Littlehampton Cricket Club were again held to a draw.
Batting first in the West Sussex Invitation League Division 1 match at Broadwater, Littlehampton posted 227-6 from their 49 overs. They then reduced Broadwater to 105-7 but the hosts finished their innings on 191-7 as Littlehampton recorded their fifth successive draw of the season.
Despite their failure to find a win so far, Littlehampton are just 35 points behind leaders Broadwater, with a game in hand, and Askew feels the side who can put two or three wins together on the bounce will go on to win the league.
He said: “The league table is so close. We’ve played five and drawn five but if we’d won on Saturday, we’d be second.
“If we win five of our last nine games, we’ll probably win the league but I think the team who can get on a two or three-game winning run will probably win it.”
After winning the toss at Broadwater, Askew had no hesitation in batting first on a wicket that is easier to bat on first up.
Askew, who hit 1,384 runs and eight hundreds last season, struck 101 as he scored his first century of the season.
Tom Lee scored 45 and Ally James hit 26 as Graham Merritt-Blann led the way with 3-39 for Broadwater.
Littlehampton made an excellent start to Broadwater’s reply as three wickets for Chris Heberlein and two for Louis Paul reduced the hosts to 40-5.
That became 90-6 when Chris Green (20) was out and then 105-7 when Paul O’Sullivan (36) was stumped by Michael Askew off the bowling of Daniel White.
However, Nigel Waller (47 not out) and Bob Reynolds (30 not out) batted out the final 17 overs as Broadwater finished their 45 overs on 191-7.
James Askew said: “It was the same old story for us and we seem to be the draw specialists.
“We got a good score and then started off really well with the ball but were then terrible for the last 20 overs and the boys know that.”
Broadwater skipper Nigel Waller said: “When Bob and I were in, the aim was to get as many bonus points as we could.Paul O’Sullivan was out with 17 overs left, so with three wickets left you’d probably expect Littlehampton to win the game. But Bob and I wanted to make it hard for them and we still went along at five runs an over as well.
“It’s an open division this year. Littlehampton are third from bottom but if they win their game in hand, they go to within just a couple of points of us. There’s been quite a few draws as there’s eight decent teams in the league.”
Littlehampton host Crawley Down on Saturday and then travel to Arundel the following week. Askew said: “Saturday will be the first time this season when we’ve had a full squad available and we need to be targeting 60 points from these two games.”
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