A HAT-TRICK of victories brought relief after several frustrating weeks at the Lime Kilns at the weekend.
Both of Oakham’s Saturday sides won, with the 2nd XI breathing life back into their promotion chase, and Sunday’s 1st XI picked up a vital win in their battle to avoid relegation.
The Saturday 1st XI won by four wickets away against Stoughton & Thurnby 2nd XI to consolidate their mid-table place in division 3 of the Everards Leicestershire League.
Stoughton won the toss, batted first, and owed a defendable score of 219-8 to a middle -order century partnership between Norwell (55) and Newton (37). Pick of the Oakham bowlers was Rory Brown with 3-47 alongside the economical Shaym Lakhani with 2-59 in 16 overs.
Oakham’s reply got off to a good start with useful contributions from Paul Haynes (30) and Chris Larsen (46). But after a middle order wobble with Shukla and skipper Sean Cowley dismissed cheaply it was left to new recruit Bim Down (52no) and Rory Brown (28no) to see Oakham home with a 50 partnership taking the score to 220-6.
Saturday’s 2nd XI faced division seven’s bottom side, Loughborough Carillion Old Boys 2nd XI, and were expected to secure an easy win.
Loughborough won the toss and surprisingly put Oakham in to bat on a hot, dry day, and Oakham’s batsmen took full advantage with openers Graeme Cooper (65) and Mazz Edge (50) putting together a century partnership before Cooper was dismissed.
That brought Andrew Counsell (67no) to the wicket and he batted through the remainder of innings, well supported by Tom Cooper with a rapid 35 and, with a couple of middle order cameos, the score rocketed to 279-4 after 45 overs.
Loughborough were never in the hunt when faced with Matt Counsell (1-15 from 12 overs) and “spin-king” Matt Osman who claimed another five wicket haul, finishing with 6-22 from his 13 overs.
The innings was wrapped up with two wickets in two overs for young spinner, Harvey Stafford, leaving Loughborough all out for a paltry 45 and giving Oakham a massive 234 run victory.
The win leaves them in third place but Oakham need two more victories and results to go in their favour elsewhere to gain promotion.
l OAKHAM’s Sunday 1st XI go into their final game of the year in the same position as last year - needing to beat Ufford Park at home to remain in Rutland League Division 2 for another season.
They gave themselves the chance of another great escape with a victory against bottom side Godmanchester on Sunday.
Godmanchester batted first, managing a below par 153, with only Nick Willmer (60) offering any resistance to the Oakham attack. Wickets were shared among the Oakham bowlers and this excellent display put Oakham in a good position at the halfway stage.
Their reply started badly with both openers dismissed with only 15 on the board.
However, Bhavin Shukla (72no) steadied the innings and despite the loss of two cheap wickets he and Mark Worthington (42no) took Oakham to a 154 and a 6 wicket win.