An Uppingham Town team shorn of several first team regulars came within an ace of pulling off a surprise victory away at high-flying Kegworth Town in the Leicestershire League Division One on Saturday.
The hosts final pair were at the crease with 15 balls remaining when the heavens opened and brought a premature end to the game.
Having been asked to bat first on a damp track, the Uppingham innings centred on two half-century partnerships as the momentum ebbed and flowed. The early losses of the Jamies - Richardson and Dumford saw Sam Hodson join Martin Bennett at the crease and the pair put together a 56 run stand for the third wicket.
The loss of Hodson for 35, which included four fours and two sixes, triggered a tumble of wickets as Tom Scott, Bennett (40) and Alex Ashwin all departed to leave Town teetering at 99-6.
Danny Dumford would now be the key if Uppingham were to set Kegworth a challenging target. In partnership with Don Lambert and James Dodworth he saw the lion’s share of the bowling and raised the score to 139-8. The ninth wicket partnership was something of a revelation, as James Cross making his first team debut came in and played his way to an excellent 26 not out of a partnership of exactly 50. Danny Dumford would reach his 50 from 49 balls, before falling to the final ball of the innings for an invaluable 62, with five fours and three sixes to his name, meaning Uppingham finished on 189-9 from 43 overs as rain had reduced the game earlier.
Opening up for Kegworth was their free-scoring import, Brent Williams. His last three innings had seen him rattle up 186, 106* and 170, and the first couple of overs indicated he was in a mood to continue his run as he clattered three boundaries – Alex Ashwin had other plans as in his third over, he found the edge with skipper Dumford completing the dismissal.
A stubborn second wicket stand of 39 between Adam Meads and Robert Moorhouse was starting to look ominous before earlier’s star with the bat Danny Dumford had Moorhouse caught driving, by Tom Scott. With the clouds gathering, Gareth Isaac was promoted to number four in the order to try and gather some quick runs – but a first ball return catch to Dumford saw the end of that plan.
Craig Ashcroft would see off the hat-trick ball before replicating the Moorhouse delivery and driving Dumford to the safe hands of Tom Scott. In between, Scott Green had Meads well stumped by skipper Dumford.
With Kegworth at 67-5, Town scented victory, but Jay O’Nien and the Wall brothers put together some ball-consuming stands of 30, 21 and 29 for the sixth, seventh and eighth wickets, meaning that when the ninth fell, with the score at 149, just 5.3 overs remained.
Skipper Jordan Holmes and Charles Morris were able to see out 18 deliveries before the weather had the final say. Scott Green bowled an excellent spell of 10 overs, 3-25, Dumford took 3-34 from 11, with Ashwin 2-51 and Lambert 1-49 the only other bowlers used.
Not quite the victory, but a morale boosting performance and result all the same by Uppingham Town who took away 16 points from the fixture and are now ninth in the 12 team division having been promoted last season.
Town host Enderby on Saturday.
Uppingham 2nds hung on to secure five points from a losing draw with Leicester Caribbean 2nds in Division Six East, falling 109 runs short of Caribbean’s 242-4 but just managing to see out the innnings without losing their final wicket, closing on 133-9.