Colan Bartram’s drive for four with just two balls remaining sealed a thrilling first win of the season in the Leicestershire League Division One for Uppingham Town away at Leicester Banks on Saturday.
As has become the norm this year, skipper Jamie Dumford won the toss and opted to field, and the bowlers wasted no time is offering vindication for this choice as Danny Dumford (1-30) and Patrick Latham (3-63) reduced Banks to 71-5 inside 20 overs.
This looked like the Town side we have become accustomed to seeing over the last couple of years as the fielding was sharp, and catches held, fine diving efforts from Harry Butchart and Jamie Richardson, one of his three grabs on the day, the highlights, then add to this a great piece of fielding from Richardson and Alex Ashwin as they combined to run out Hitanshu Kumar and Uppingham were buzzing in the field.
Not forgetting the catch of the day, Martin Bennett produced a stunning one handed diving effort at first slip very low down to his right.
The only sticking point was the Banks opener Nikesh Savjani who held the innings together with a good knock of 55 before being the seventh man out. His innings covered 102 balls and featured just three boundaries, but Sai Tandel (30) added 42 for the sixth wicket, and then 29 with Anil Nai for the seventh.
Nai would provide late fireworks as he reached his 50 from 42 balls, reaching the landmark with his third six – an attempt for a fourth maximum would find Richardson on the Long On boundary, one of two wickets for Scott Green (2-8). The other successful bowlers were Cox (2-51) and Ashwin (1-31)
Uppingham’s reply started badly, losing Bennett in the second over. Sam Hodson and Jamie Dumford with a swift 46 run partnership before Hodson fell to Nai. Next to fall was Dumford for 41 from 42 balls, which included five fours and two sixes, another scalp for Nai (3-55). Cox and Richardson now set about laying the foundations for the final push, putting on 53 for the fourth wicket and seemingly the game was in the bag. But not quite. The loss of Richardson sparked a middle order collapse which saw 123-3 rapidly descend to 141- 7, 12 overs remaining and 65 runs required for victory and it looked like Uppingham were going to let the game slip. Alex Ashwin and Danny Dumford at the crease had other ideas.
After a couple of overs to settle in, Ashwin decided attack was the best means of defence and helped himself to two sixes, one straight over the wicket-keeper as 15 runs came from the 38th over and Uppingham began to believe again.
With five overs remaining and a mix up Ashwin was run out, 41 valuable runs had been added for the eighth wicket with Dumford, and now just 24 were needed.
Cool heads were now in high demand, and the experienced Bartam joined Dumford and the runs kept on coming, with 12 needed. Dumford smashed a huge six to calm the nerves, but just when it looked the game was won he hit a return catch to Ashwin Patel with the score at 203, the outcome was well and truly in the balance.
One over left, three runs for an Uppingham win, one wicket for a Leicester Banks win. Bartram hit the first ball for two, tying the scores, before playing out two ‘dot balls.’ The fourth ball was pitched up, inviting a drive and Bartram was happy to accept, driving back past the despairing bowler to the boundary and sparking celebrations in the visiting dressing room.
Fully aware that ‘one victory does not a summer make’, Uppingham will now be looking to build upon this win, as the next two games are against other clubs at the wrong end of the table, Houghton & Thurnby and Thorpe Arnold.