EMPINGHAM returned to winning ways in the most dramatic of fashions on Sunday.
Stand-in skipper Matt Denny elected to bowl first and Dave Mckevitt and Andy Larkin opened the attack well, keeping the run rate down but failing to make a breakthrough.
Olly Elson was introduced to the attack with impressive consistency and turn while Rick Cooper came on at the other end and didn’t lose a single run from his first 13 deliveries.
The squeeze was doing its job well but after the drink’s break the Sholay batsman broke the shackles with some effective strokes. The boundary count began to increase and Empingham’s fielding deteriorated. Overthrows, fumbles and dropped catches crept into the game but eventually Cooper picked up the first wicket and more soon followed.
Matt Osman picked up two quick scalps at the other end but some belligerent hitting kept the run rate ticking. Then came a flashpoint. The ever cunning Dave Mckevitt noticed the Sholay batsman creeping out of his crease at the non-strikers end and, despite a warning from the umpire, the batsman tried his luck again on the very next delivery. McKevitt quickly whipped off the bails and the batsman had to walk.
Osman finished with four wickets and Sholay ended on 178 - a par score on a batsman friendly wicket.
In reply Empingham got off to a rocky start losing Freddy Turner, R McKevitt and Mark Coburn to consecutive balls in the third over. Andy Larkin however remained and was soon able to counter attack with a series of commanding shots.
Graeme Cooper joined him and the two looked at ease until an untidy run out handed the initiative back to Sholay.
Osman joined Larkin and the pair took the score to 100. Larkin (66) hit one big stroke too many and the lower order began to collapse, leaving Empingham requiring 62 when number 11 Rick Cooper strolled to the crease.
But Cooper (42no) and McKevitt stood firm with the former bludgeoning two glorious sixes into the river. Good running brought Empingham back into the game and with 11 needed off the last over some athletic scampering brought the scores level with one ball to play.
Mckevitt had the audacity to drop and run, and Empingham won.