Rutland sides cannot be separated in derby

Oakham take on Uppingham in the Leicestershire and Rutland League Division Three title decider. Photo: John Evely EMN-140818-163601001
Oakham take on Uppingham in the Leicestershire and Rutland League Division Three title decider. Photo: John Evely EMN-140818-163601001

All season it has been nip and tuck at the top of the Leicestershire and Rutland League Division Three with Oakham and Uppingham jostling for the top position, and ultimately a double Rutland promotion.

A week of rain and strong winds had made it difficult to present the traditional batting track both sides are used to, significantly reducing the scoring but not the tension.

After hours of intense competition the two sides played out a narrow draw which Uppingham just edged.

Oakham skipper Darran Jones won the toss, and seeing the bowler friendly condition inserted Uppingham.

Oakham had the better of the early exchanges with the in form Martin Bennett caught well by Shukla off Jones in the second over for 0.

With the game being played under leg side wide rules, extras scored well for Uppingham early on. Captain Jamie Dumford then had a life after he was dropped by Albert Radford off Rory Brown.

Dumford and the evergreen Mark Cox stabilised the innings in trying conditions, until Dumford was caught lbw to the miserly Darren Jones.

Osman bowled a good spell of slow right arm and kept the run rate down, including taking the wickets of Don Butchart and Josh Rawlings in successive balls.

Cox went on to make a well fought 50 and was well supported by the veteran Pat Latham, pushing back the many years with some lusty blows.

It was left to the effervescent and swashbuckling Alex Ashwin to score what was a match changing 33 in a partnership of 50 off 5 overs with Danny Dumford.

Uppingham finally finished on 176-8 which was probably a good score after a sticky start on a wicket that Cox never looked truly comfortable on.

The Oakham innings followed a similar pattern, with good tight bowling from the young and old of the Uppingham attack. Latham castled Richard Martin early on, and a mix up saw the dangerous Bhavin Shukla run out.

On form Calvin Flowers nicked on behind as he was getting into top gear, and the perfect arm ball from the guile of Scott Green finished the precocious Jamie McCormack, who was totally out thought.

Sam Wills and Rory Brown consolidated the innings, and for a while looked like pulling off a victory, but then Wills was caught behind to a good catch off the old stager Colan Bartram. This still left Oakham favourites until Brown who had batted uncharacteristically sensibly for 30 tried a rash shot off Green to only sky the ball to Danny Dumford at extra cover.

With the normal opening batsman Radford sat in the hutch with a broken finger, which to add insult to injury was sustained when he dropped Dumford. it was left up to skipper Jones and Matt Osman to chug towards a losing draw, only 10 runs short of the total on 166-8.

The outcome was only a two point swing to Uppingham in a game which could have gone either way, in a match played in good spirit.

Uppingham skipper Jamie Dumford said: “This was a good game of cricket which was close and could have gone either way. Cox held the innings together superbly on a difficult track and the Dan [Dumford] and Alex [Ashwin] cameo at end got us to a respectable score. I thought all our bowlers bowled well in particular Pat [Latham] picking up their three big wickets.”

Oakham chairman Nick Begy said: “It was a great day for Rutland cricket.

“The application to battle a result out was testament to the sides. We want nothing more than both sides to go up, and I think we have both shown we are the two class outfits in the side.

“We have had a recent wobble, but I suppose that was always going to happen.

“We now have four cup finals to come, being only four points ahead. I have to thank all the support as well making it a special day for Rutland cricket.”