Vital victory as Oakham ease fears of relegation
Oakham’s hopes of avoiding relegation from Division One of the Leicestershire League received a massive boost after victory on Saturday.
Richard Martin’s side defeated visiting Cropston by two wickets to move out of the bottom two relegation places.
They are now 17 points clear of the drop zone with just two matches remaining and a decent return from this weekend’s match at home to Newtown Linford would almost seal their safety.
A fine bowling display from Oakham on Saturday laid the foundations for their success after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat first.
Charlie Baker made an immediate impact on the Cropston batting as he took a wicket in his first over.
This was followed by a wicket maiden in his second over as Simon Rollingtonwas bowled to leave the visitors reeling on 14-2.
Ethan Hawkins (54) and Steve Punchard (34) rebuilt the Cropston reply as they put on 71 runs for the third wicket.
The introduction of Wes Durston to the Oakham attack saw him bowl Punchard and then Max Lewin (16) was trapped leg before as the hosts reduced Cropston to 114-5.
Durston struck again a couple of balls later to dismiss visiting skipper Ian Allen courtesy of a catch from Vivek Naker.
Ed Tattersall then got in on the act as Cropston were reduced to 118-7, but Hawkins was still at the crease and, together with A Loakes, took the visitors past the 150 mark.
Baker was brought back and made the vital breakthrough as Hawkins and Loakes both departed in quick succession to leave Cropston on 158-8.
The tail end managed to add just 12 more runs as two run outs saw the visitors dismissed for 170. Baker bowled his 10 overs to return 4-38 while Durston made life difficult for the Cropston batsmen with 3-27 from his 12 overs.
Durston then dominated the Oakham reply as he took the hosts to 90-3 before he was caught by Sam Hickinbottom off the bowling of Hawkins for 61.
His innings included seven fours and three sixes and proved crucial as Oakham’s successfully chased down the target.
Naker (29) and Shyam Lakhani (20) added some valuable mid-order runs despite Hawkins adding to his half-century with the bat by taking four wickets.
It was left to Baker (11no) and Tattersall to steer Oakham home in 38 overs and bag a valuable 25-point haul.