Morris stars for Oakham; prolific duo in form for Sports; Town 2nds record eighth successive win
Uppingham Town's first-ever Premier Division campaign looks set to end in relegation after a bottom two finish was confirmed on Saturday.
Town tumbled to a three-wicket home defeat in their penultimate match of the campaign against fellow relegation rivals Barkby United.
The visitors rallied from 46-5 to pass Town's 148 all out with an unbeaten 61-run stand for the eighth wicket proving pivotal in the crunch clash.
Town had been put into bat by their third-from-bottom visitors and suffered an early setback when Ben Farnsworth was dismissed without scoring after facing just nine deliveries.
Skipper Jamie Dumford and Nick Green rallied the Uppingham cause with a 63-run partnership for the second wicket.
Dumford then became the first of Aidan Morris' five wickets when he was bowled for 41 which included eight fours and a six.
Green (24) and Sam Hodson then followed shortly with Martin Bennett lasting just balls as Town slumped to 71-5.
Following the departure of Jamie Richardson for five with Town on 90-6, Mark Cox and Danny Dumford stalled the Barkby charge.
Cox made a patient 25 while Dumford struck 21 with Alex Ashwin then adding 13 as Town reached 146-9 before Morris (5-29) completed his haul in his 10th over by trapping Tom Hynes leg before.
Town made a strong start to the Barkby reply with former Oakham School and Leicestershire batsman Matt Boyce being dismissed for six following Farnsworth's catch off Ashwin's bowling.
Ashwin then had Harry Funnell caught by Green to leave the visitors on 8-2 which then became 31-3 when Danny Dumford bowled Jack Wood.
Steve Flowers made just seven before bowled again by Dumford who returned an excellent 2-11 off 10 overs.
Hynes then got in on the act to have David Tew caught by Farnsworth for 21 to leave Barkby reeling on 46-5.
The Australian then trapped Ben Silver leg before for 10 and Town looked in control with the visitors on 67-6.
Morris added 22 runs for the seventh wicket with Louis Botting before he was run out by Cox with Barkby on 89-7.
Victory might have looked in sight for Town, but Botting (51no) and Cameron Sharp (27no) regained control of proceedings for Barkby.
Town were unable to find a further breakthrough as the unbeaten eighth wicket stand of 61 secured a success which leaves them 60 points ahead of Uppingham going into the final round of fixtures.
Oakham are finishing their Division One season with a flourish after a terrific four-wicket away win at Loughborough 2nds.
The hosts had made an excellent 251-8 from their 45 overs, but Oakham passed the target with two balls to spare to move up into fifth place in the division.
A century from Stuart Fielding and Kaz Saddington’s 53 fuelled Loughborough’s run charge against an Oakham attack inspired by Shaun Morris.
Morris returned 6-48 from 12 overs while Charlie Baker also bagged a brace.
Oakham lost both openers early on, but Vivek Naker (55) and Sean Cowley (41) brought them back into the contest.
Morris then completed a man-of-the-match performance by blasting four fours and two sixes in unbeaten 58 which came off just 44 balls.
Shyam Lakhani (19) and Rory Brown’s 24 not out provided solid support to see Oakham home in the final over.
Division Four East champions Ketton Sports completed their home campaign with a crushing 244-run win over second-from-bottom Countesthorpe at Pit Lane.
The hosts racked up an imposing 325-3 from their 45 overs with Countesthorpe being dismissed for 81 in their reply.
After electing to bat first, Sports piled up the runs with Ashley Rodgers (54) and Peter Rowe putting on 98 runs for the first wicket.
Rowe (121) and Zeeshan Manzoor (142) then took over the mantle with a 197-run stand for the second wicket.
Rowe’s century was his fifth in the Leicestershire League this season while Manzoor’s haul took him past the 1,000 run mark for the season.
Will Compton and Manzoor then ripped through the Countesthorpe batting as only three players made double figures.
Compton claimed 5-39 from 10 overs while Manzoor took 4-35 from 12 overs for Sports’ 18th win of the season from 19 completed games.
Oakham 2nds completed a double-winning weekend for the Lime Kilns club with a 52-run success over Leicester Banks 2nds in Division Five East.
Market Overton lost at home to Leicestershire Teachers by 75 runs in the same division.
Uppingham 2nds recorded their eighth successive victory in Division Seven East with a convincing 117-run away success at Leicester University Staff 2nds.
Town totalled 247-9 from their 45 overs with James Cross (57) and Lee Middleton (63) leading their top order charge.
Tom Scott (21), Andy Hall (32) and Billy Beaver (27) then maintained the momentum to put Town in a strong position.
Joe Bennett struck early in the University reply and, despite a 51-run stand for the second wicket between Corey Evans (18) and Ahmed Khan (42), Town soon took control again.
Nathan Hall broke up the partnership by dismissing the duo and then Kashif Munir claimed the wicket of Zubair Mohtat to leave the hosts on 77-4.
Middleton and Munir then ripped through the middle order to return 3-28 and 2-23 respectively which left the University Staff on 115-8.
A brief rally was stopped by Harvey Stafford's first wicket of the game before Bennett rounded off proceedings to finish with 2-37 as the University Staff were bowled out for 130.
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