Runs galore but Oakham victory proves elusive

Neil Southern made 123 for Oakham'Photo: Geoff Atton
Neil Southern made 123 for Oakham'Photo: Geoff Atton
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Oakham’s big hitters struck three centuries and a raft of players passed the 50 mark but the Lime Kilns side were still winless last weekend.

Will Stuart-Jones scored 101 at Quorn where the first team drew on Saturday. A day later, Joe Kendall made 104 for Sunday’s first team in their loss to Market Deeping, and Neil Southern posted 123 for Sunday’s second XI who were beaten at Bourne.

Four batsmen struck half-centuries for the second XI who posted 306 for 6 on Saturday but even they had to settle for a draw against Bardon Hill.

As a result, with the exception of Saturday’s 2nd XI, Oakham’s sides are all looking to avoid the drop.

First team regular for the club’s Saturday and Sunday sides, Rory Brown, said: “Our league positions do not tell the whole story.

“We are posting 200s and giving good run chases. The fielding has been outstanding and people are putting themselves on the line but it does not seem to be clicking at the moment.”

He witnessed two of the weekend’s tons and added: “Will timed the ball very well. It was an entertaining century. Joe’s was the work of a top player.”

Saturday’s first team were agonisingly close to a second consecutive win at Quorn where they finished just four runs short.

Quorn batted first and despite early control from Oakham’s bowlers made 193-8 on a difficult wicket.

Pick of the Oakham bowlers was 16-year-old Cameron Down (4 for 31) with good support from Shaym Lakhani and Jamie Oakley who each took two wickets.

Oakham’s reply was led by Stuart-Jones’ century, with 52 from another of Oakham’s young talents, Albert Radford, taking Oakham to within sight of victory.

But after their dismissals Quorn limited Oakham to 190 for 6 and a chance to move away from the Leicestershire League division three strugglers had slipped through Oakham’s fingers.

Up against taple-topping Bardon Hill 2nd XI in division seven, Oakham 2nd XI were put into bat on an excellent wicket at the Lime Kilns and this proved a serious error by the opposition skipper as Oakham’s batsmen preceded to destroy their bowling.

Graeme North (60), Murray Speed (59no), Freddie Turner (52) and Tom Cooper (51) led Oakham to a massive 306 for 6.

Bardon Hill never looked like reaching this daunting target but they held on for a losing draw, finishing on 152 for 7. This was despite the best efforts of veteran spinner Bob Inchley who took 5 for 50.

Kendall’s 104 made up the greatest chunk of Oakham’s 203 for 7 against Deeping in the Rutland League on Sunday but the hosts needed another 30 or 40 runs to be safe and Deeping paced their reply perfectly, cruising to victory in 42 overs.

Oakham 2nd XI’s opening attack was possibly the youngest ever with 13-year-old Ben Southern taking 1 for 22 at Bourne on Sunday.

Henry Pegley, 14,bowled an economical six overs, conceding just 19 runs and Alex Laybourne took three for 46 but despite their efforts, Bourne posted a massive 287-6.

Oakham skipper Neil Southern hit a magnificent 123 which pushed Oakham to reach 219-3 with 9 overs to go. But his dismissal and the subsequent run-out of Max Tomlinson (23) exposed the young and inexperienced lower order to Bourne’s opening bowlers who quickly engineered a collapse with four ducks as Oakham finished on 231-9.