Uffington edge towards promotion
Uffington took a step nearer to promotion from Rutland Division Three with a convincing seven wicket victory over Bretton, which featured a superb all-round team effort.
Electing to bat on a very flat pitch, Bretton found the going considerably tougher then when they inflicted defeat on the league leaders earlier in the season, not least because opening bowlers Ben Jennings and Simon Larter were playing this time.
As he has done all year, Jennings made early inroads, with Andrew Bennett only able to poke a lifting ball to Felix Cunningham in the gully for six, and Shakil Hussein clipping a catch to Steve Moody at square leg.
Number three Mark Drake survived a number of close LBWs calls and had some fortune as nicks didn’t go to hand, but he showed just how docile the wicket was in compiling 60 before Felix Cunningham swung one past his forward prod and onto his back leg to trap him LBW.
A few lusty blows from Mark Buckingham got him to 25, and Mark Rowell contributed 28 but with Moody (3-49) and Cunningham (2-53) keeping it tight through the middle overs, Bretton’s was a muted effort. Seven wickets down at the end of their 45 overs for 184 was at least 50 short of par on the high scoring village ground, wise old heads reckoned.
So it proved to be. George Hartley and Dave Griffin got off to a steady start and despite the incessant imploring of the fielding side to play more shots, they knew that wickets in hand would prove vital, and their opening stand of 60 off 20 overs provided the perfect platform.
They looked in no bother, until on 19 Hartley unfurled a majestic cover drive and optimistically headed up-wicket, based entirely on the quality of the shot. Unfortunately he had hit it straight at the fielder and found himself comprehensively run out.
Griffin, as a grizzled Aussie, was impervious to the chat from the fielders, but then chose to accelerate anyway and was brutal on anything pitched up, smashing his way to 50. Hitting the ball ever more cleanly, he creamed a drive to deep extra cover where Buckingham took the catch. Five yards either side and it would have disappeared into the wheat field.
Josh Bentley was then strangled down the leg side for seven and perhaps Bretton thought they had a chance, but in bringing Damien Herrick and Tom Bentley to the crease, the game was up. They ran the fielders ragged and despatched wayward deliveries to the fence, cruising along at six an over as a hush finally descended across the field.
Herrick, in the form of his life, reached yet another 50 without breaking sweat. It was his sixth of the season and he was not out on 56 as Tom Bentley finished the second game in a row with a massive six out of the ground, to go to 45, and Uffington reached the target in the 39th over.
Next week, Uffington visit unbeaten Newborough in a top of the table clash.