Uppingham Town handed county rivals Market Overton their first loss of the season with a 33-run victory in the Rutland League on Sunday.
Town, whose only previous fixture was cancelled, won at Castle Hill, supporting Marko skipper Paul Thwaites’ recent suggestion that they would be among the favourites in division two.
Ahead of the season, Thwaites tipped Uppingham for the title and they were strong in all areas on Sunday.
Town won the toss and elected to bat first, making 158-9 despite the best efforts of Thwaites who took four wickets for 44 runs.
Captain Jamie Dumford opened for Uppingham and top-scored with 31 runs. Opposite him was Max Collins on his 16th birthday and the teenager struck 11 before becoming the first of Thwaite’s victims.
Mark Cox added 26 to push the score on to 73 in a partnership of 53 runs with Dumford before falling to a superb catch by Tom Corbett.
Uppingham then lost five quick wickets for just 21 runs, losing all the middle order and opener Dumford to good bowling from Thwaites and Brian Makwana who claimed two for 24 runs.
Good lower order batting from Ben Collins (21), Danny Dumford (26) and Tom Wharton (12no) helped Uppingham to a final score of 158 for nine.
In reply Marko opened with Adam Clark (16) and Tom Corbett (8) as they got off to a poor start, losing five wickets for 45 runs. The dangerous Makwana was taken first ball, caught by Ben Collins off the bowling of Danny Dumford (3 for 23).
Marko’s middle order offered better resistance with Mark Owen adding 20, Thwaites top-scoring with 33, and Ryan Thwaites making 18 as Marko pushed their score to 118 runs for eight. But a brilliant catch on the boundary by Max Collins prevented a six and removed hard-hitting skipper Thwaites to swing the game in Uppingham’s favour.
Marko, who remain top of the table, were eventually bowled out for 125 in 35 overs due to excellent fielding and bowling with Ben Collins taking four for 23 as he removed the lower order. His brother Max took four catches.
Elsewhere in the division, Oakham lost their opening game, at home to Newborough, by four wickets.
Oakham were put in to bat at the Lime Kilns with Bhavin Shukla hitting 58 as the hosts made 198 all out.
Newborough’s reply was a consistent innings with three batsmen in the high 30s as they made 200 for six with 11 balls to spare.
The wickets were shared between Rory Brown, who claimed both opening batsmen, Dave Falconer, Albert Radford, Graeme North and Nick Davies.
Oakham travel to Bretton, Uppingham to Ufford Park, and Market Overton host King’s Keys on Sunday.