Oakham Cricket Club’s South African duo delivered a match winning batting performance at home to Stamford 2nds on Sunday.
With a batsman-friendly wicket and clear overhead conditions it seemed the side who won the toss would be at a considerable advantage.
Oakham won the toss and proceeded to bat.
The home side started strongly, getting off to a solid start with Naker and Cowley taking the score past 50.
After a disastrous mix up between the two openers, it was Naker who paid the price. Cowley quickly followed Naker back to the pavilion, a long hop being his downfall.
It was then the South African show. Carl Fourie and Calvin Flowers showed their full repertoire of strokes, taking the Stamford bowlers for plenty. Fourie was caught on the boundary following a brilliantly crafted 80.
It was Flowers who really changed the course of the match. Having played some outrageous shots he carried his bat for 91 not out, ably supported in the latter parts of his innings by the up and coming James Ilott who scored 34 not out off 21 balls. Oakham posted a daunting score of 280 for 4 off 45 overs.
Oakham then had the opportunity to utilise a number of bowling options.
Ben Southern, aged 13, opened the bowling well to carry on a promising start to the season. At the other end of the age scale, the legend that is Dave Falconer was tight, taking 3 for 35 off his 11.
Stamford were eventually bowled out for 205 with good bowling contributions from spinner Harvey Stafford, the express pace of James Ilott, and South African Flowers chipping in with two wickets each.
Radford also took a wicket with a deceiving delivery.
Captain Radford said: “This is a hugely promising start. We just need to maintain this level of performance, with availability being key over the next few months.”
The Lime Kilns ground looked picture perfect on Saturday for the Oakham 2nd XI Leicestershire & Rutland Cricket League Division 6 East fixture versus Gilmorton Village.
Gilmorton won the toss and surprisingly put Oakham into bat, a decision that Oakham took full advantage of, with Neil Southern (74) and Will Bell (115 not out) the major contributors in an imposing total of 262-7.
Bell was dominant throughout and hit some big sixes – including one superbly struck over wide long-on which found the centre of the 1st XI skipper’s car windscreen.
In reply Gilmorton lost two early wickets to 13-year-old Ben Southern who is having a magnificent start to his senior career before M Page (55) and J Hollobone (55) put together a fine partnership which put the Oakham side under considerable pressure.
Fortunately, skipper for the day Harvey Stafford dismissed them both either side of the drinks break and Gilmorton were then focused on saving the game and maximising their points from a losing draw.
This they did with Oakham unable to take the last wicket as Gilmorton finished on 217-9 meaning Oakham took 20 points from a winning draw.