Oakham Cricket Club defeat Loughborough Carillon in Leicestershire League clash
Oakham kept up the pressure in the hunt for promotion to the top flight of the Leicestershire League with a vital victory at the Lime Kilns on Saturday.
They defeated fourth-placed Loughborough Carillon by four wickets to stay just one point adrift of table-topping Newtown Linford who currently occupy the solitary promotion place.
After drawing their match at bottom-of-the-table Market Harborough last weekend, Oakham needed a healthy points haul with a win which would severely dent Carillon's hopes of catching the Rutland side.
After the visitors had the toss and elected to bat first, Charlie Baker made a vital breakthrough by bowling opener Alex Relf with the score on 13.
It was the first of four top order wickets for the Oakham bowler as Baker produced a superb spell of 4-16 from nine overs.
That helped reduce Carillon to 57-4 as Baker clean bowled three batsmen before catching out Mark Trimingham off his own delivery.
Kyle Grobler then led the Loughborough recovery after being the main-stay of a number of mid-order partnerships.
He put on 33 runs for the fifth wicket with Mayur Keshwala who then became the first of Ed Siddle's two wickets after being caught by wicket-keeper Richard Martin.
Siddle then trappedKarthik Ananthanarayan leg before after he and Grobler had added a further 38 runs for the sixth wicket.
Cameron Flowers then came into the Oakham attack and he claimed the scalps of Liam Evans for 10 and Andrew Capel in quick succession to leave Loughborough on 160-8.
However, any hopes of keeping Carillon below the 200-run mark were dashed by Grobler who continued his fine form.
He smashed nine fours and six sixes in his 87 runs off 81 balls before being the final wicket to fall with the score on 217 after being caught by Martin off Rory Brown.
Grobler and Dan Freeman-Langford had made a 54-run stand for the ninth wicket until Flowers, who finished with 3-29 off six overs, had the latter caught by Brown.
A half-century opening partnership then laid the foundations for the Oakham reply with Vivek Naker and Flowers getting them off to a solid start.
Flowers flourished in the early stages of the Oakham innings as he smashed five fours and two sixes in his 42 which came off 46 balls.
Despite then losing Ed Tattersall without scoring after Flowers' departure, Shaun Morris helped maintain Oakham's momentum.
When Naker fell for 19 with the home side on 87-3, Morris and and skipper Martin put on 49 runs for the fourth wicket.
Morris had made 45, which included two fours and three sixes, when he was bowled by Ananthanarayan.
Shyam Lakhani then hit five boundaries in his 21 as Oakham moved closer to their target on 167-5.
Martin and Alex Anthony - whose superb last-man run-out had earned Oakham a share of the spoils the previous weekend - took them closer to the 200-run mark by adding a further 23 runs for the sixth wicket.
It was then left to Siddle to join Martin and guide Oakham home with eight balls remaining with the skipper unbeaten on 41 at the close.
Near neighbours Uppingham saw their hopes of finishing in the top two suffer a severe setback after losing at league leaders Newtown Linford by three wickets.
After being asked to bat first when their hosts won the toss, Uppingham were bowled out for 160 after failing to build on a solid start.
Skipper Jamie Dumford and Ben Farnsworth put on a half-century stand for the first wicket until the latter became the first of Adrian Lascu's five victims after making 27.
The Australian followed up Farnsworth's wicket by dismissing Sam Hodson and Harry Tattersall cheaply which left Town on 55-3.
Mark Cox had made eight when he was caught and bowled by Lascu with Warren Birchall then trapping Dumford leg before for 33 with Town on 73-5.
Birchall then accounted for James Cross as Town tumbled to 89-6 before their lower order rallied.
Danny Dumford (19) and Kashif Munir (16) put on 25 runs for the seventh wicket while Alex Ashwin boosted the Uppingham total with an unbeaten 22.
However, Lascu followed up his 5-38 haul off seven overs with a late run out to dismiss Nathan Hall while Cameron Hardwick suffered a similar fate courtesy of Matthew Bennett as Town were bowled out in 33 overs.
Danny Dumford ensured Town's run defence got off to the best possible start by picking up two early Linford wickets.
He dismissed both Craig Chapman and Dylan Church without the Linford batsmen scoring to leave the hosts on 1-2.
However, opener Luke Gale was joined by David Woods and they put on a match-defining 108-run stand for the third wicket.
Hardwick eventually made the breakthrough when he had Gale caught by Hodson for 45 and followed that by dismissing Woods for 76 after the home batsman had hit six fours and three sixes in his 71-ball innings.
Hardwick then bowled Lascu to leave Linford on 131-6 with Hall also picking up the wicket of Nick Newman cheaply.
However, Bennett (14no) and Marcus Hagger (13) steadied the Newtown ship to take them to the brink of victory.
Tattersall bowled Hagger with Linford one short of their target, but Sam Chambers joined Bennett to see Newtown home.