Cricket: Uppingham’s promotion hopes dented by losing draw

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Uppingham Town’s promotion chances were dealt a blow as they were handed a losing draw at the hands of Hinckley - who for the second time this season have proved themselves Town’s bogey team.

In this Leicestershire Cricket League Division Four clash the downfall was ultimately the toss, as despite winning it, Uppingham surrendered the favourable batting conditions in pursuit of a win.

It’s a tactic that has worked a number of times this season and initially, once again it looked a shrewd move as Danny Dumford, and his elder brother Jamie - usually more comfortable keeping wicket - produced an excellent opening spell.

Opener Tipper had played a couple of pleasant looking drives, but had scored mostly off the inside edge of the bat, before Danny Dumford (1-57 from 12 overs) got a ball to move viciously back off the seam to castle him for 24. From the other end, Jamie (1-32 from 10) was causing the prolific Roach all sorts of problems before getting some extra lift of a length ball and find the top of the bat to be caught by Sam Barnett at point for 16.

Although expensive, Alex Ashwin (1-64 from 9) then produced a yorker which accounted for number three, Sylvester for 27 quick runs.

Scott Green wheeled away from the other end, and having been smashed for a six the previous ball did what all good spinners do and produced a wonderful flighted delivery next up to tempt the batsman again. He duly obliged but picked out Harry Robertson on the boundary who took the catch to leave the hosts 99-4.

That soon became 115-5 as Green once again tempted the batsman down the pitch and with sharp turn beat the bat, and wicket keeper David Fish did the rest whipping the bails off before the batsman could recover his ground.

At 119-5 after 29 overs, a heavy shower followed and one could argue, Uppingham were in control of the match.

With the match now reduced to 38 overs per side, that control was tightened in the first 12 balls after the resumption, with Scott Green snaffling his third wicket (3-39 from 7 overs) and taking him to 90 overall for the season.

Then in the following over it was Green’s fielding that came to the fore. He dropped to his knees to stop a ball at mid on and flicked it two handed into the one stump he had to aim at. That left the hosts on 130-7.

However the Hinckley batsman suddenly seized the initiative and York in particular produced an excellent innings that ultimately decided the match. He was particularly harsh on Ashwin who was driven at will as he went onto record 76 not out from 52 balls, although he was dropped towards the end of his innings the damage was done. Number 9 Hatcher also recorded 20 not out and Hinckley closed on 196-7 from 38 overs.

With a large damp patch in the middle of the wicket, Uppingham were always facing the more difficult batting conditions and the opening bowlers of Hinckley have already proven themselves this season to be one of the best in the division. However, Richardson and Jamie Dumford stood up to the test well, trying to engineer a position from which Uppingham could launch their own tail end blitz.

Although the scoring rate was modest, the opening pair put on 65 from 19 before Jamie Richardson was LBW to Woodward (4-39 from 13 overs) for 37. That became 83-2 from 23 as Jamie Dumford was bowled for 30 trying to increase the run rate. With the required rate now above 8 per over, the remaining batsman had to go for their shots from ball one, but each time a batsman had scored a few boundaries, they perished soon after and Uppingham slumped to 128-7 after 32 overs, any realistic chance of pushing for the win had gone. Danny Dumford (21 runs) then took Uppingham to within sight of the draw, before once again the reliable Billy Beaver saw Town home for a losing draw and a mere six points.

With Bardon Hill and Ratby Town both recording easy wins, Uppingham are now more than a maximum point win behind the leaders, and a solitary point ahead of second place.