LECHLADE remain top of the Glos/Wilts Division after easing home to a 70-run victory in a low-scoring encounter at Chipping Sodbury.

Batting first after winning the toss, Asanka Vithanage and Brad Dial put on 38 for the first wicket for Lechlade before Vithanage was caught and Dial soon followed. Joe Breet and Will Nichols appeared to be steadying the ship for the visitors before both fell within four balls of each other.

Arran Dickinson then took the lead role, batting with growing confidence despite wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end. Dickinson, first with Ryan Higgins (8) and then Paul Godding (12), added 85 runs to the total before Lechlade descended into freefall, adding only another 19 runs to the total for the last four wickets to close on 184.

Dickinson was eventually dismissed for 64, striking for runs as he ran out of partners. His runs came off 73 balls in 87 minutes and included five maximums and three boundaries. In defence of a small total, Lechlade’s bowling unit came out firing. Michael Craigs was the first to strike in his second over when he dismissed Brian Jater without scoring.

He then picked up the wicket of Jamie Rendell for two and, with the score on 15, Chipping Sodbury were under pressure.

From the other end, Luke Sellers had the batsmen playing and missing without success as he only conceded 11 runs off his opening spell of six overs.

Nichols was next to make the breakthrough, picking up the wickets of Jake Read and Craig Scully and, when Vithanage dismissed Chris Willoughby for 24, the hosts were 60-5 and in trouble.

Despite the best efforts of Dan Clarke, who hit his 39 off 42 balls before he was spectacularly caught by Godding in the deep, Lechlade picked up the last five wickets for 53 runs to dismiss Chipping Sodbury for 114. Vithanage finished with figures of 4-26.

Lechlade captain Joe Breet said after the game: “Arran batted with great responsibility and helped us post a respectable score and gave the bowlers something to attack.

“The bowlers bowled well as a unit with Michael and Luke putting the batsmen under great pressure from the outset which allowed Willy, Sanks and Tris (Nichols, Vithanage and Hawkes) to clean up at the end.

“All in all I am very pleased with the result today.”