CRICKET: Seconds make up for firsts’ sluggish summer at Oakham

Photo: SM040812-020ow'Oakham CC 2nds v Lutterworth CC 3rds. Graeme Cooper batting for Oakham.
Photo: SM040812-020ow'Oakham CC 2nds v Lutterworth CC 3rds. Graeme Cooper batting for Oakham.
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WHILE Oakham’s first XI remain off the pace of the top sides in division three of the Everards Leicestershire League, the club’s Saturday seconds are locked in a fantastic four-way battle for second spot in division seven.

The 1st XI struggled after being put in on a damp and difficult wicket against Newtown Linford 2nd XI, one of the better sides in the division, on Saturday and could only manage 103 all out

This poor score was quickly overhauled by the opposition who won by eight wickets finishing on 104-2.

This leaves Oakham well down the table and needing some good results to consolidate their position in the league although they are are still 50 points above Ibstock who occupy the relegation position (only one team is relegated this year as Market Bosworth dropped out of the league).

Oakham’s Saturday 2nd XI however are within one point of second place in a titantic tussle for second behind the runaway leaders Loughborough Town 3rd XI.

On what proved to be a day of heavy showers on Saturday, Oakham’s 2nd XI added another 13 points from their match with Lutterworth 3rd XI.

The opposition won the toss and put Oakham into bat and Mazz Edge (35) and Graeme Cooper (39) made a good start on a damp wicket, taking the score to 90 at 20 overs when the first heavy shower forced the players off the field.

Cooper was dismissed with the first delivery after the restart, bringing Tom Cooper to the wicket and he smashed a quickfire 38 in only 19 balls with five 4s and two 6s to provide important acceleration to what was now a reduced overs innings.

Another break for rain brought a final reduction to 35 overs and Steve Lockwood (20) and Ryan Thwaites (20no) pushed the score to a creditable 185-5.

The Lutterworth innings got underway but more rain saw a further reduction in overs to 28 with Oakham needing to restrict the opposition to less than 90 in 20 overs to secure a winning draw and the lions share of the points.

Tight bowling from Nick Davies (0-24 in 6 overs), Matt Osman (1-28 in 10 overs) and Ryan Thwaites (1-17 in 6 overs) ensured that Lutterworth only reached 62-1 in 20 overs and finished on 89-4. The bulk of these runs coming from K McCray (34) and an impressive U14 batsmen, J Hack, who scored a classy 39 before being magnificently run out by a direct hit from fingers Steve Lockwood fielding at cover.

Oakham’s all round bowling and fielding performance was excellent and. allied with the positive batting effort secured vital points from on a difficult day where the efforts of groundsmen and assistants were crucial in completing any sort of game.

Unfortunately the weather was kinder to Oakham’s Division 7 promotion rivals with both Hinckley Town and Electricity Sports taking maximum points to leave the second promotion place up for grabs with Hinckley on 183, Oakham and Electricity Sports on 182 and Enderby not far behind on 175.