Oakham lead the pack at half way

Oakham v Cosby. Oakham's Richard Martin. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-140630-152326001
Oakham v Cosby. Oakham's Richard Martin. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-140630-152326001
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Whisper it quietly but Oakham could be on their way to an unbeaten league season.

The Rutland side are having an outstanding season, leading the league at the halfway point and winning again at the weekend.

Oakham beat Cosby by seven wickets in the Leicestershire League division three on Saturday.

It was a wet and damp day, and with the covers on and a delayed start, skipper Darran Jones had no hesitation in putting the visitors in to bat.

Bowling was tight from the start, with a good opening burst from Jones and Rory Brown, with the former taking two early wickets to reduce Cosby to 40-2 off the first 20, and a very low scoring rate.

With the introduction of spin, Osman (2-26) and Jamie Oakley (1-16), kept the run rate low, with regular wickets restricting the visitors, in particular a stunning catch from the experienced Larsen behind the stumps off Flowers.

Overall a good tight bowling performance restricted Cosby to only 131-6 on a ground that normally offers scores in excess of 220.

From the start, Oakham went after the runs. Belligerent batting from openers Richard Martin (59) and Will Stuart-Jones (45) ate quickly into the Cosby score, with Oakham never looking in difficulty.

Despite losing a couple of late wickets trying to finish before the rain, the damage was done, and Oakham reached their total within 
22 overs.

The team now stand undefeated, half way through the season with a 45-point league lead.

Oakham skipper Jones said: “We are only halfway through, and though we have played all the teams, we can now see where the tough fixtures are to come.

“Certainly we were helped this week with some of our closer rivals losing, but this week we have a tough challenge v Ilston Abey who are strong on their day.

“Teams like Egerton Park are now winning games, and in the wings are Uppingham, who remain our biggest rivals.”

Chairman Nick Begy said: “This is the first year of our five-year plan, and so far we could not hope for better.

“Darran has skippered the side fantastically well. We have fallen on our feet with Calvin moving locally to Wymondham, and the return of record run scorer Ricky Martin. The introduction of local boy Will Bell, and return of local favourite Sean Cowley has strengthened an already strong batting line up, with

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old hands like Bhavin Shukla, Will Stuart-Jones, Larsen and McCormack all continuing to perform.

“The bowlers have all taken turns to perform also. However, we must not be complacent. This is a strong league, and we have to focus on each match as it comes.

“We do start to get some of our young local lads back over the next few weeks with the end of Saturday school. The likes of Nick Davies will add a new potency to the attack. Selection has never been tougher, with far more players than spaces, so we must be doing something right.

“In the background we have a strong focus on the long term, with growing numbers in all age groups, and now looking to launch a ‘talent development programme’ with input from LCCC.

This is our future, our biggest issue is we just don’t have enough space for what we want to achieve”.