Uppingham pip neighbours Oakham to league crown

Uppingham Town 1st team that beat Illston Abbey to win Division 3 of the Leicestershire & Rutland Cricket League Division 3 on Saturday EMN-140915-173213001
Uppingham Town 1st team that beat Illston Abbey to win Division 3 of the Leicestershire & Rutland Cricket League Division 3 on Saturday EMN-140915-173213001

Uppingham Town wrapped up the Leicestershire & Rutland League Division Three title on Saturday, pipping near neighbours Oakham with a maximum point win away at Ilston Abey.

Uppingham knew only victory would do with nearest rivals Oakham on their tails.

As it happened Oakham also secured a maximum points victory with a 129-run win away at Kegworth Town Second XI.

Uppingham were inserted on a dry looking wicket, and soon lost Bennett, unluckily bowled off his pads. That brought Mark Cox to join Jamie Dumford, and the pair tucked into some wayward seam bowling with Dumford picking up 26 runs from the 10th over of the innings, including successive sixes.

Cox once again looked in excellent nick, and although more watchful than Dumford, played a couple of textbook 
on drives that rattled the fence.

Indeed the pair had done much to allay fears that the wicket would be hard to bat on with a 97 run stand from only 100 balls to propel Uppingham to 112 in the 19th over, before a ball appeared to stop on Dumford who succeeding only in lobbing a simple return catch to Desai to be out for 47 .

Desai, on as second change, had now found a nagging length, and without width scoring suddenly became difficult. Cox, already with six boundaries to his name, drove at a fullish ball and lost his off stump - again to Desai for 40 from 61 balls.

From the other end, the left arm spin of Mulla (2-41 from 12) was introduced. With the ball turning sharply, the scoring rate dropped to a crawl, before a series of wickets left Uppingham on 167-7 at one stage. Only Sam Hodson made any impression with the bat with 23 before Desai (4-29 from 12) also accounted for his wicket.

So often the Uppingham tail, led by the gifted Danny Dumford, has pushed the Uppingham score forward, and indeed it was the case again, at the most crucial time of the season. Although a further mini collapse left Uppingham 193-9, Dumford was joined by a composed Scott Green and the pair were able to take the score to 207 before Dumford was last man out in the final over for 27.

In response, Ilston Abey were looking to score quickly, although in truth the pace and movement of opening bowlers Dumford and Ashwin, were proving far too good as the outside edge was beaten time and again. When the ball did find the middle of the bat, the ground fielding of Uppingham, again a feature of the team all season, came to the fore to back up the labours of their bowling unit.

The pressure told, and Mahmadollah tried to smash Dumford over the top but found only the safe hands of Harry Butchart at a deepish mid off.

Ashwin was looking sharp and it was no surprise when he skittled Singh and followed up with a toe-crushing yorker that sent Imran lbw for a golden duck.

Much like last week, the opening bowlers were trading wickets almost at will, and Ashwin collected his third wicket to finish with 3-17 from 7 overs, and Dumford also collected the second wicket that his spell deserved to finish with 2-19 from 9.

Ilston Abey had lost five wickets for four runs in a devastating spell, before the pacemen were withdrawn and the spin of Cox and Green completed the job.

Ilston were able to repel the attack for a time, but Green picked up the first of four wickets with the first ball after drinks. That brought the dangerous Tej Chauhan to the wicket, and he immediately counter attacked to show that even on a worn track he is a talented lower order batsman and he picked up 31 runs in a 25 ball knock before a flighted Green delivery bowled him.

Uppingham were within grasp of the title, and when Green took the ninth wicket for figures of 4-18 from 9 overs, it set up the evergreen Mark Cox (1-25), so often Uppingham’s match winner, to take the final wicket and spark the celebrations.