Uppingham Town closed to within six points of leaders Oakham after a tense fourwicket win in a low scoring match against Quorn in Division Three of the Leicestershire and Rutland League on Saturday.
Not that the match looked like a low scoring one when Quorn opened their innings. Both openers Sharp and Cooper had found 4 boundaries apiece as they raced to 43-0 after 9.2 overs, when Alex Ashwin’s yorker resulted in Sharp (22) clipping the ball into his foot and the ball looping for the Uppingham paceman to take a sliding return catch.
It was the change in luck Uppingham needed, as Dumford from the other end finally found his rhythm. No.3 Reynolds couldn’t lay a bat on his first 3 balls and only succeeding in guiding his fourth to Martin Bennett at first slip where he completed a juggling catch. Ashwin then followed that up with two further wickets in overs 12 and 14 as Uppingham suddenly seized the initiative.
However, there was still time for another piece of magic as Dumford and Bennett combined for a second time to end opener Cooper’s knock for 19. Dumford’s peach of a delivery left the right hander enough to take the edge, where first slip Bennett managed to take a brilliant one handed catch, low to his right.
From 43-0, Quorn had slipped to 51-5, and as a result Collins and Errington tried to counter attack to arrest the slump. For a while that worked, as they put on 26 for the sixth wicket before Mark Cox was introduced and Errington fell for 12, this time Ashwin taking a good catch.
Meanwhile, Dumford was completing his marathon 12 over spell, and had Collins (10) caught behind by his brother Jamie to finish with 3-30, his last 8 overs had yielded all those wickets for a miserly 13 runs. When Cox (2-18) picked up his second wicket to leave Quorn 75-8, it looked as though Uppingham would be chasing a sub 100 total.
Yet, there was a sting in the Quorn tail asErrington plundered 3 quick boundaries before becoming Scott Green’s (1-12) only wicket, Martin Bennett completing a more orthodox slip catch for his third of the innings.
Then D.Cox and Maddocks put on 19 for the last wicket with Cox finishing 20 not out showing great resolve, before the returning Ashwin bowled Maddocks for 15.
Having opened the door for Uppingham with the first wicket, it was fitting that Ashwin closed the Quorn innings to finish with excellent figures of 4-36 and Quorn were all out for 122 from 38 overs.
In response Uppingham lost Dumford early, but Bennett and Cox combined in eye catching fashion as it appeared Uppingham would cruise to victory.
Mark Cox got off the mark with a spectacular six over mid wicket, and followed that up with another maximum over square leg. At the other end, Bennett looked in great touch.
Bennett had picked up 7 boundaries before becoming Errington’s (2-33) second victim for 34. The partnership had been worth 71 and Uppingham looked comfortable. Cox was still picking up boundaries, and added to his two sixes with 7 fours of his own, before top edging a pull stroke and was out for 46.
That sparked a mini collapse from Uppingham as they slumped from 78-1 to 94-6, and Quorn sensed an upset might be on the cards.
However, Danny Dumford (19 not out)and Harry Butchart batted calmly to deliver victory in the 23rd over.
The win sets up a top of the table clash with local rivals Oakham next week with the Division Three title likely at stake.