CRICKET: Empingham’s title tilt is back on

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EMPINGHAM resurrected their promotion chase in sensational style by taking the scalp of table-toppers Tilton on Sunday.

It was a stellar performance at Exton Road where Mal Smith had prepared an excellent wicket and where Empingham were more than happy to bat first. However, after losing Mark Coburn early, it was up to Graeme Cooper and Freddie Turner to rebuild.

A mixture of streaky and powerful strokes upped the run rate after a sluggish start, and soon the duo began to rotate the strike frequently. At the halfway stage Empingham were well placed, with nine wickets in hand, but they knew they would need a gigantic total against Tilton would be essential.

When Cooper departed in an attempt to force the pace, his nephew Tom was brought to the crease, and he soon started to bludgeon the ball to the boundary.

After Turner (70) was run out by a great piece of fielding, brother Rick joined Tom at the crease and the two put on an exhilarating partnership. Tom raced passed 50, taking 26 of one over alone and Rick joined in the fun at the other end.

Olly Elson and Dan O’Kane carried on in the same vein with some healthy hitting while Tom ended on an unbeaten 74 to help Empingham to a substantial total of 242.

Empingham came out firing in the field, thanks to some fantastic bowling from Dave Mckevitt. His first wicket may have been a tad fortunate after a dubious lbw but it was certainly well deserved. A second wicket soon followed with some sharp work with the gloves from Coburn, who was exemplary behind the stumps all day. Once Mckevitt had picked up a third wicket, Empingham were on top.

However, Tilton’s key man, who had scored 150 against them just weeks earlier, was still at the crease and beginning to open up. Dan O’Kane came on to stifle the run rate, with considerable effect, while Matt Osman added to the squeeze at the other end but Tilton the began pair began to establish a strong partnership.

Empingham turned to Rick Cooper who duly obliged with the key wicket in his first over. O’Kane and Elson were able to spin Empingham to victory, backed up by catches from Turner and Denny at full stretch before Mckevitt came back for his fourth wicket, which completed an epic victory.

Skipper Freddie Turner said: “It was a brilliant day at the club, made all the merrier with a victory pint bought by chairman Nigel Milner and vice chairman Jonathan Corby.

“Hopefully the Exton Road army can continue this form until the end of the season.

“Well done to all involved and many thanks to all those who came to support, it was much appreciated.”