LAST year’s finalists Uppingham and Market Overton meet this evening in the semi-finals of the Rutland Twenty20 Cup with a tie that promises to be a great encounter.
Ketton, who despatched Oakham in the previous round, face Uppingham’s 2nd XI at home in the second semi-final, ensuring a third division side from the Rutland League will face first division rivals in the final, which is due to be hosted by Oakham Cricket Club next Friday evening.
And the winners of the clash at Uppingham are likely to go into the final as favourites.
Both sides recorded good league victories last Sunday with key players hitting form at the right time. Brian Makwana made 94 not out for Marko while Mark Cox hit an unbeaten 77 for Uppingham against a strong Barnack side.
Marko, who are seeking a hat-trick of T20 titles, were handed a bye in the opening round when Empingham failed to raise a team, while Uppingham cruised past Wakerley and Barrowden last Friday.
Uppingham raced into the Rutland Twenty20 semi-finals, seeing off lower league Barrowden with ease on Friday.
Jamie Dumford put Barrowden in to bat and Town’s bowlers soon got to grips with their hosts on a wicket that was green from overnight rain.
Max Collins (1 for 11) claimed the first wicket and Stu Lambie then ripped into the early batting taking three wickets in his third over for 14 runs.
Barrowden collapsed, losing five wickets for no runs, as Ben Collins (2 for 7), Alex Ashwin (2 for 3) and Danny Dumford (2 for 5) removed the lower order. Only Sam Hodson (12) reached double figures with Chris White on 6no as Barrowden were dismissed for just 40 in 12.5 overs.
In reply Uppingham opened with Jamie Richardson (10) and Will Cropper (30), with Chris White taking the only Uppingham wicket to fall as Uppingham cruised to victory. Cropper finished in grand style with a six to give Uppingham a comfortable win in the seventh over.
Uppingham’s second team also progress to the semi-finals after North Luffenham conceded, like Empingham unable to get a side out.
The fourth team in the semis, Ketton, beat Oakham after great work by Ketton’s groundstaff to ensure the match went ahead.
Oakham won the toss and inserted Ketton, who scored at a steady rate throughout the innings with a good contribution from the ever ebullient Christian Durrant.
All the Oakham bowlers were tight, especially Charlie Baker, bowling quick and straight, and Isaac Berarey-Smith. But the pick was Mathew Osman, a renowned Twenty20 specialist as Ketton secured a good 103.
Oakham started strongly in reply with all batsmen making a good start, but Ketton stuck to their task, and economic bowling from the likes of Josh Gallimores made for a close finish and Oakham eventually came up short, all out for 97.
Ketton’s Dave McDonald said: “It was just a good local game of cricket, played in the right spirit.”
Oakham’s club captain and one of the competition organisers, Nick Begy, added: “This is the reason we run the Rutland T20 - local rivalries played in a fantastic spirit.
“We wish Ketton all the best in the next round, and thank them for their hospitality and working so hard to get the game on.”