BURGHLEY Park blew the perfect opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Hunts League’s second division with a narrow defeat to second-placed Blunham on Saturday.
Burghley had been hoping to increase their 14 point lead but instead saw their lead cut to just three points with four league games remaining.
Winning the toss, Burghley Park decided to put Blunham into bat and Burghley struck early with Tom Dolby tempting Blunham opener Grimes to snick on to Vince Spurr at gully. Some good bowling from the other end from Mat Simpson restricted Blunham’s run rate but the visitors held on to their wickets.
A clash between Spurr and Dave Cannie at point then caused Cannie to dislocate his thumb which reduced Burghley Park to a 10-man side for a considerable amount of time.
A change of bowling enabled Will Felgate to strike from the memorial end, taking the wicket of Harding, and with Michael Jones bowling from the pavilion end also picking up wickets Burghley made headway.
Simpson and Dolby returned to bowl and started to take more wickets with Simpson finishing with figures of 12-3-33-3 and Dolby 12-4-31-2 as Blunham finished on 166 for 8 from their 45 overs.
Burghley openers Cannie and Oli Lindley went out to bat and it was instantly obvious that Cannie was struggling with his injury, and was swiftly removed by Blunham captain and opening bowler Matt Benson, who was also playing with an injured shoulder.
Wickets continued to fall with Nick Sudbury, John Meadows and Felgate all falling cheaply all to Blunham’s other opening bowler Spendlove.
Chris Meadows and Lindley steadied the ship with some delightful shots around the park before Lindley was bowled playing a very out-of-character shot to Aloia on 36.
Meadows continued to bat well dispatching all Blunham had to offer until Aloia bowled him one short of his fifty.
With the match poised to go either way a notable batting effort from Stuart Biggs, who knocked a respectable 19, edged Burghley Park ever closer to the 167 winning target. Vince Spurr, batting at nine, staked a claim to bat higher up the order with a great innings, playing sensibly considering the pressure that was building.
A huge six from Michael Jones took Burghley Park to just five runs from victory but a quicker ball from Connor Heaps saw Jones pop the ball up to short mid off and brought vice-captain Mat Simpson to the crease, who unfortunately only managed one ball courtesy of another quicker ball from Heaps.
Burghley Park finished five runs short on 161 all out and will hope to bounce back against bottom side Bharat Sports tomorrow.