Stamford Town move into second spot in Cambs League Division Two table
A 143-run partnership between Andrew Hulme and Alex Birch helped propel Stamford into second spot in Division Two of the Cambs League after a 15-run home win over Saffron Walden 2nds on Saturday.
The duo came together with just two runs on the Stamford scoreboard after last week's match-winner Dave Stratton was dismissed.
Hulme hit 64 and Birch blasted 73 in a pivotal partnership to Stamford's success over their fourth-placed visitors.
The duo both plundered eight boundaries apiece until Hulme was the first to fall after being caught by Mark Thompson off Daniel Cummins.
The opener's departure sparked a mini collapse as Stamford slumped from 145-2 to 149-5 as Cummins collected a couple of quick-fire wickets.
He had Tim Juggins trapped leg before first ball and, after Ben Appleby had bowled top scorer Birch, Cummins claimed his third scalp by dismissing Stamford skipper Tom Williams for two.
Ben Peck had scored six until he became Cummins' fourth scalp as the Saffron bowler returned 4-30 from his 10 overs.
Scott Chamberlain (17) and Simon Prentice (25no) took Town closer to the 200-run mark with a 33-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
But, after Chamberlain was caught by Stan Leech off Thompson, the Saffron bowler struck again four balls later to bowl Brett Bennett.
That left Prentice to take Town to a final total of 216-9 from their 50 overs after two 12-run partnerships with James Ferrow and Daniel Robertson.
Stamford then struck early in the Saffron reply as Ferrow bowled opener Luke Ormsby with the Saffron score on five.
Leech and Mark Kimberley put on 43 runs for the second wicket until the former was trapped leg before by Prentice for 20.
Cummins joined Kimberley to continue the run chase as they added a further 41 runs for the third wicket until Hulme ran out the former for 25.
This stifled the Saffron reply as they went from 89-3 to 110-6 with Robertson claiming the crucial wicket of top scorer Kimberley for 50.
He also had Thompson stumped by wicket-keeper Hulme with Birch bowling Bertie Scott for two.
Matthew Rowlandson and Appleby reignited the Saffron surge with the latter leading the charge by hitting three fours and a six in his 48 not out.
He was unbeaten at the close, but Bennett had Rowlandson caught by Stratton for 13 with Prentice giving Hulme another scalp after Liam Mays was caught for four by the Stamford wicket-keeper.
Tom Goodwin cracked two boundaries in his 13 not out, but Stamford's bowlers kept it tight enough to secure a 15-run victory.
Ufford Park extended their points advantage over bottom-of-the-table Castor with a 20-run home success over Kimbolton.
The hosts were indebted to half-centuries from Hamish Bell and Tom Cooper as they were bowled out for 169.
Bell hit 59 and Cooper cracked 53, but Andy Larkin (12) was the only other Ufford batsman to make double figures as Mark Roberts took 4-29 for the visitors.
A tidy bowling display then kept the Kimbolton reply in check as they were restricted to 149-8 from their 50 overs.
Sandeep Dahiya was the pick of the Ufford bowlers with 4-21 from 10 overs while Bell also bagged a brace of wickets to secure a vital victory for second-from-bottom Park who are now 44 points clear of the solitary relegation place.