An unbeaten 121 from Mark Cox proved the difference as Uppingham and Oakham served up a cracker of a Rutland derby at Castle Hill on Saturday, with the hosts securing a three-wicket win with just three balls remaining.
Batting first, Oakham got off to a fast start with Wes Durston leading the way before Danny Dumford, just like earlier in the season claimed the prize wicket.
He found his outside edge and Patrick Latham took a great low diving catch at slip, Durston’s 26 coming from 25 balls and including four fours and a six.
Sean Cowley and Vivek Naker now laid a foundation for what threatened to be a sizeable total as they took the score to 99 before Naker (42) became the first of four to fall to catches on the boundary, this time it was Bennett taking the catch to give Scott Green his first wicket of the day.
Lakhani didn’t get time to settle before falling leg before to Green.
At this stage Ed Tattersall joined Cowley and the pair raised a 54-run stand at better than a run a ball before the return of Latham to the attack had Tattersall (27) caught by Richardson.
New batsman Will Bell smashed Cox over Bennett at long on for six before attempting to do the same to the following ball and only succeeding in finding the safe hands of the fielder.
By now Cowley had reached a patient 50 before he too departed, bowled by Latham for 62 (87 balls, six fours), as 176-6 rapidly slid to 189-9 as Green and Latham continued to wreak havoc among the Oakham batting.
It was left to James Tattersall and Ben Southern to see the visitors through to the close, and maximum batting points, the innings closing on 205-9.
Following his five wicket haul last week, Latham again led the wicket takers with 4-48, Green hot on his heels with 3-43 with one each for Dumford and Cox.
As has been the case of late, the Uppingham innings spluttered off the starting line, losing Hodson without scoring.
Jamie Dumford and Cox saw the score past 50 before Dumford was dubiously adjudged leg before for 19.
Bennett and Cox now built the pivotal partnership, adding 70 for the third wicket before Bennett (35, six fours) nicked one to Martin behind the stumps.
Uppingham needed 84 from 14 overs but, never a team to make things easy, an Ed Tattersall inspired middle order collapse saw four wickets fall in a hurry as 147-3 became 173-7.
Cox was now hitting his stride, his first 50 had taken 71 balls, his second only 54, and the final push for victory saw him clatter 23 from his last 13 balls faced.
In tandem with Latham the target was steadily reduced. Thirty off three overs became 11 off the last over, to be bowled by Baker.
The first two deliveries whistled straight back past/over the bowler for a four and a six before a single sealed the win.
Cox’s knock took a total of 127 balls and featured 13 fours and five sixes which must have left Oakham thinking what would have been if they could have taken one of the chances.
A great days cricket for the spectators, that could have gone either way.
The win solidifies Town’s second spot in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leicester Banks, a team struggling at the other end, before two huge games to round off the campaign.
Firstly away to leaders Langtons before a home game with Hinckley, a team rapidly coming up on the rails and likely to provide an entirely different proposition to the side comprehensively despatched back in week one.