UNBEATEN Ledbury made light work of fellow high-fliers Marden with an emphatic seven-wicket success in Marches Cricket League Division Two.
In good conditions, the leaders’ stand-in skipper Matt Ehrlich lost the toss and Marden, who were in third place before the match, had no hesitation in batting first.
However, the Herefordshire hosts were unable to take advantage of the situation as Ledbury delivered almost the perfect fielding performance.
The bowlers, led by Neil Andrews and Mike Arlott (1-36), gave the batsmen nothing to work with by operating to good plans.
Ledbury’s ground fielding was exemplary and supported the bowling attack by taking all their catches, including three spectacular one-handed efforts.
Marden dangermen Pete Richards (7) and Sam Pratley (16) both fell to Andrews (2-14) before Maurice Embrey delivered a spell of 1-9 from nine overs to squeeze the life out of the middle order.
Chris Boyson (26) top-scored before he became the first victim of in-form Jamie Turner’s 4-28 and, with his departure, the Marden innings ground to a halt.
Andrew Bridges’ slow 22 not out ensured they batted their 45 overs out but the score of 124-9 was well below-par.
In gloomier conditions, Ledbury’s opening batsmen Ehrlich (19) and James Brighton (29) went after the target with few alarms.
They put on 60 runs for the first-wicket partnership before captain Ehrlich was well held at slip.
A protracted rain delay made conditions tricky after the resumption with both Brighton and Paul Andrews (13) falling to swinging deliveries.
But, at the other end, Luke Ledbury looked in superb form, timing the ball well with 42no, including 10 fours, to see the town home with 23 overs to spare.
Fourth-from-bottom Ledbury seconds enjoyed less success, falling to a seven-wicket defeat at home to their Garnons counterparts in Division Three.
Batting first, the hosts amassed a useful 173 all out from 45 overs with the mainstays being Paddy Merryman (45), Kev Hathaway (20) and young Jai Smallwood (24).
Garnons’ reply was perfectly paced and built around Joe Worle’s innings of 107 not out, which contained 16 fours.
Ledbury’s first XI travel to in-form local rivals Woolhope on Saturday and the seconds entertain Abergavenny Beavers (both 2pm).