Cricket: Oakham battle on in relegation scrap

Matt Osman bowls for Oakham                                                 File Picture
Matt Osman bowls for Oakham File Picture
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Oakham 1sts picked up their second 24-point win on the bounce as they scrap it out in a relegation dogfight brought on by a 48-point deduction.

The Leicestershire Cricket League took the points from the division three side after they accidentally fielded an unregistered player pushing them nearer to the bottom of the table.

So a 24-point win against Newtown Linford last week was just the tonic they needed and to follow that up they travelled to Stoughton & Thurnby 2nds determined to continue the form.

And although the batting was respectable but not outstanding, skipper Matt Osman bowled for the team’s life, finishing on a match-winning 5-32.

The win moved Oakham up to fourth from bottom on 164 points.

The result was only marred by news that second from bottom Cosby beat high-flying Lutterworth. There are just 11 points separating Oakham, Bitteswell and Cosby. Shepshed Messengers are firmly rooted to the basement with 108.

On Saturday, Oakham batted first and on a large playing area found boundaries hard to come by.

However, when Bim Down (56) joined Albert Radford (67) good running between the wickets saw the singles made into twos and took the score to a respectable but not outstanding 188-5 in 45 overs.

In reply Oakham’s seamers made early inroads but it was only when Osman got to work that the hit or block approach of Stoughton proved their downfall.

Off-spinner Osman ripped through their batting order to finish with a match winning 5-32 as Stoughton were dismissed for 117 leaving Oakham winners by 71 runs to secure another 24 point maximum.

l Oakham’s Saturday 2nds were also in fine form for their division seven game at the Lime Kilns against Enderby.

Oakham won the toss and decided to bat with Graham Cooper (31) looking to take the attack to the Enderby bowling.

His dismissal saw the run rate slow and the middle order fail to capitalise on the positive start against some accurate Enderby bowling.

It was left to Freddie Turner (77) to anchor the Oakham innings which with some late hitting from Darran Jones reached 211-9.

In reply Enderby’s openers made a very rapid start reaching 50 in over six overs until Moore was dismissed by Turner.

The other opener Hood (76) kept the momentum going but the introduction of slow bowlers Inchley and North (4-17) slowed the scoring rate.

Even so, at 167-6 Enderby, with their strong batting line up, looked strong favourites with plenty of overs in hand.

Fortunately for Oakham their lower order subsided with out much of a fight and they were bowled out for 196 leaving Oakham winners by 15 runs.

l The Sunday 1sts lost to Uppingham by 26 runs in division two of the Rutland League.

Uppingham batted first and scored 222-5 in their 45 overs. In reply Oakham could only manage 196-7 to lose by 26 runs.

l Oakham’s Sunday 2nds took to the field as Eaton Socon batted first.

The openers made a good start with T Banks going on to score 85 runs though he benefited from at least four dropped catches.

After a degree of control in the middle overs the lower middle order scored some quick runs in the last few overs to take the score to 217-6.

Pick of the bowlers was Harvey Stafford with an economical 1-38 in eight overs who also took some excellent catches.

This was always likely to be a difficult target for the young Oakham side and once the experienced opening pair of Neil Southern and Andrew Counsell were dismissed it didn’t get any easier.

Only a well made 30 from new recruit, wicketkeeper and batsmen David Platt, kept Oakham in it but with his dismissal, Oakham were 90-5 after 22 overs and the game looked over.

However, Matt Counsell took the game to the opposition with some fine stroke play.

Good defence by the young lower order meant he was able to take the side to within striking distance of unlikely victory.

Unfortunately they couldn’t hold on and Counsell was left stranded on 64no as Oakham were dismissed for 194 in 43.2 overs to lose by 23 runs.