Uppingham travelled to Ibstock on Saturday knowing a maximum point win was a must with their main promotion rivals Bardon Hill and Syston Town playing each other less than five miles away.
And they didn’t disappoint taking all the points in a seven wicket win in Leicestershire League Division Four.
Travelling with a slightly weakened team, skipper Jamie Dumford was keen to impress on the troops the need for a disciplined bowling display to set up a winnable run chase.
Yet the Ibstock openers Clarke (25) and Gregory (22) got them off to the perfect start reaching 40 without loss after 12 overs. It wasn’t until Alex Ashwin was brought into the attack in the 13th over that things started to turn Uppingham’s way. Ashwin produced two identical yorkers which accounted for both openers.
That brought skipper Tyers to the wicket and he battled to keep the Ibstock innings together, as opening bowler Patrick Latham maintained an excellent line and length in a marathon 15-over spell.
In one over Tyers took 16 runs off the outside edge and down to the short third man boundary.
Frustrating though it was, his incisive bowling would soon be rewarded as first Goodwin (1) nicked one to David Fish at first slip and then Tyers got an inside edge to be caught by a tumbling Kev Bennett for an excellent 37.
At 87-4, Uppingham found something extra and with Colan Bartram replacing Ashwin, Uppingham found another gear.
In particular, the slip catching of the team was notable, but in Patick Latham the club have found an excellent slipper and as Bartram found the outside edge Latham took a diving one handed catch low to his left and then followed that up in the following over with a flashing catch high above his head.
When Bartram bowled two more Ibstock batsman he suddenly had figures of 4-25 from eight overs.
There was still time for Latham to chip in with a further wicket, bowled off an inside edge for figures 3-50 in 16 overs. Alex Ashwin mopped up the last wicket, a looping catch to Dumford in the covers to finish his bowling figures of 3-17 and the Ibstock innings on 132 from 36.2 overs.
In reply, the Dumford brothers opened the innings but lost younger brother Danny to one that nipped back to leave Town 7-1. That brought vice-captain David Fish to join his skipper Jamie Dumford at the wicket, and the pair managed to negotiate the opening spell of bowling, with Fish in particular able to find the boundary regularly.
Dumford, far from his fluent best knew the importance of building the innings and as the score reached 50-1 he was finally able to latch onto some loose bowling, pulling the ball for three successive boundaries as the Ibstock resistance finally seemed to break.
At the other end, Fish was cutting the ball at will, but augmented that with fine boundaries through mid-wicket and the covers. As the score ticked towards the winning margin, Ibstock introduced the spinners to try and stem the scoring rate.
That move partially worked, but Fish and Dumford were rotating the strike well and moved their partnership past the 100 mark in the 23rd over, before David Fish moved to 53 with his 10th boundary - a sweep shot that was drilled through midwicket, before being bowled next ball trying to repeat the dose. The partnership of 109 had been broken.
However, Dumford simply continued his work and brought up his own 50 (finishing 52no), before Patrick Latham joined him at the crease and capped a fine personal display by hitting the winning runs as Uppingham finished on 134-3 from 32 overs.
With news filtering in late in the day that third placed Syston has beaten Bardon Hill in an extremely close game. Uppingham moved top of the league - four points clear with three to play. Bardon Hill drop to third.
However, Uppingham still need to play both Bardon Hill and Ratby Town so there is much work to be done.