Win sees Uphill leapfrog rivals

UPHILL Castle entertained second-placed Street looking for a win to overtake them in the league table.

UPHILL Castle entertained second-placed Street looking for a win to overtake them in the league table.

Batting first, Uphill lost captain Sam Trego early on leg before to Higgs, but Jon Lambert and Steve Cooke (26) got them off to a good start, bringing up 60 runs inside the first 15 overs. Lambert was particularly dominant, producing a quickfire 36 with some lusty blows before edging behind. Chris Davidson and Steve Cooke both fell leg before to the spin of Bartlett, leaving Uphill at a precarious 80-4.

Andrew Llewellyn and John Davidson rebuilt the innings with an excellent 60-run partnership to put the home side in a decent position heading into the last 10 overs. Davidson was unluckily bowled by a shooter for a run-a-ball 46, but Llewellyn accumulated quick runs before being run out for 29.

Alex Luke smashed 14 not out, including a big six down the ground, before Markus Bail hit the last ball of the innings for four, finishing the innings on 184-9. With a strong bowling unit, Castle were confident of defending the total.

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Trego introduced himself into the attack early and was rewarded immediately. Linter was caught trying to go over the top, and he bowled Hill shortly after.

Street captain Pope scored an aggressive 19 before the introduction of more spin accounted for his wicket, leg before to Bail. Street were looking like cruising to victory, but the reintroduction of Davidson in tandem with Trego changed the momentum as an eight-over period with just 20 runs conceded forced errors from the Street batsman.

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Needing 57 from 10 overs with seven wickets in hand, Davidson removed Talbot (25) with an excellent caught and bowled before Alex Winn caught Cox with a stunning catch, covering 30 yards and taking the ball inches off the floor one handed.

This started the collapse, and Trego removed Bartlett for an excellent 73. A three-wicket over ended any hope of a Street victory as Trego bowled Western, and then had Malone superbly caught on the boundary by Grabham, before the bullet arm of Llewellyn found Trego who threw down the stumps to run out Higgs.

With 20 required from the last two overs, Hudson came back into the attack and wrapped up the victory in the penultimate over thanks to a sharp leg-side stumping from John Davidson.

Forte Financial man of the match was shared between John Davidson and Sam Trego. The victory takes Uphill to within touching distance of second place going into the final game away to basement side Barrington on Saturday.

n Castle 2nds travelled to Purnells 2nds looking for the five points that would secure the league title.

On losing the toss, Uphill were asked to bat on a slightly damp wicket. Openers Nigel Cook and Mark Hodder started steadily and had taken the score to 17 when Cook was caught and bowled for four. Hodder was then joined by Tom Brewer (14) and the pair progressed the score to 36 when Hodder was caught and bowled for 17.

With a slightly under-strength batting line-up then exposed to some good bowling from Kendrick (12-4-32-4) and Sadiq (12-2-35-2), Uphill collapsed from 43-2 to 50-6 in just five overs.

Stand-in skipper Rob Owen was then joined by George Cox and the pair started the Uphill revival with a seventh-wicket partnership of 29. However, when Cox was dismissed with the score on 79, Uphill were still a long way short of posting a competitive total.

Tony Moore then came to the crease and looked secure straight away. In partnership with Owen, the pair began to frustrate the opposition by taking the singles on offer, with Moore launching the occasional boundary. Owen and Moore added 62 in the space of 17 overs for the eighth wicket, a partnership ended in the 43rd over when Moore was bowled off his pad for 33. Purnells took the last two wickets quickly but Uphill ended up with a competitive 147 all out, Owen remaining undefeated on 42.

In reply, Cox provided the early breakthrough, taking the first wicket with the score on eight, a regulation catch behind to stand-in keeper Owen. They repeated the trick two overs later, Owen this time with an excellent one-handed catch from an inside edge.

With the score at 20-2, Purnells collapsed in spectacular fashion, falling to 31-8 after 16 overs. The collapse started with Cox taking his third wicket (6-3-12-3). Fellow opening bowler Andy Leech then took control as he took four wickets (11-5-25-4) in the space of three overs. Dave Kelley also chipped in with a wicket as he had the home skipper well caught by Cook.

With Minall unable to bat, Uphill only needed one more wicket to secure victory. They were held up with a ninth-wicket partnership of 36 between Kendrick (23 not out) and Fielden (11). However, Kelley took the last wicket in the 23rd over as he had Fielden caught by Brewer to give Uphill victory by 80 runs and confirm their status as league champions.

Special mention should be made of the efforts of Owen and Moore with the bat and of Cox with the ball. However, the Forte Financial man of the match was Andy Leech for his excellent spell of swing bowling.

n Castle Strugglers played their first game with a host of Uphill legends donning their whites for an exciting game against a Uphill Select XI.

The Select XI batted first and were soon in trouble against the pace of Phil Loud (7-0-32-2) and the guile and swing of Tim Holt (7-2-24-2).

First-teamers John and Chris Davidson rode their luck and found it hard going against the formidable Chris Slocombe (7-2-18-0) who bowled superbly with no luck and the experience of skipper Andre Cox (5-1-22-0).

Cox then turned to spin twins Dave Harding and Alex Luke. Their three overs went for 38 and, with Williams going for a similar amount, the Davidson boys filled their boots with John being caught off the last ball for an excellent 87 and Chris finishing not out on 70.

The Strugglers' reply started well with Graham Board (12) smashing a six in the first over. Steve Teale (10) was superbly caught by Tom Oultram and, after looking comfortable, Alex Luke (25) was the victim off a mix-up with Dave Harding and was run out.

Harding (14) was next out leg before to James Holt. Enter the ever-youthful Dave Bickell (51) who rolled back the years with a mixture of great running and powerful hitting and, with help from Ray Dibben (14), put the Strugglers back in with a chance.

Man of the match Chris Slocombe (27 not out) made the batting look easy as stroked the ball around. Cox then joined Slocombe and, with 33 runs required off three overs, it looked a big task, but with some lusty blows from Slocombe it was left to Cox to face the last ball with six required. Unfortunately Cox could not put all his weight behind the shot and it went for four.

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