Eastwood Town’s first XI took another significant stride towards safety with a nervy three-wicket victory over Long Eaton.
Long Eaton openers Tim Taylor and Kieran Cooke managed to stifle Eastwood’s bowling attack early on, as the pair passed the halfway point unbeaten.
Hitesh Godhaniya got the vital breakthrough, clean bowling Cooke for 26 before Mark Smith dismissed John Fletcher in the next over for a duck with the score on 73.
Brett Scothern joined Taylor at the crease and they put on a brisk 30-run partnership for the third wicket before Taylor was caught by Ryan Elliott for 51.
Taylor’s dismissal brought back opening bowlers Jake Humphries and James Longden, and together the duo wreaked havoc on Long Eaton’s middle order, taking five wickets between them for just 32 runs as Long Eaton closed their innings 152 for 8.
Sixteen-year-old Humphries was the leading wicket taker with 3 for 28.
Eastwood’s reply saw Jason Wooliscroft (11) and Mark Smith (21) both chip in to help Eastwood to 50 for the loss of two wickets, before skipper Neil Gregory was then run out without facing a ball.
A trinity of thirties from Steven Leese (31), Adam Smith (30) and a rapid 36 from Gordon Pearson kept Eastwood in the hunt, before two fluent boundaries from Adam Leigh ensured Eastwood’s fifth victory in five games, with the win putting Eastwood up to joint fifth in the Division B table.
The second XI’s much-anticipated title showdown with Kinoulton turned out to be a massive anti-climax as Kinoulton produced a dominant display to win by eight wickets.
Eastwood batted first, with Stuart Hill opening up and producing a batting masterclass with an aggressive 74 which included 12 fours and two sixes.
However, the rest of the top six batted poorly against Will Minchin and Shaun Campbell, scoring just ten runs between them as Eastwood stumbled to 86 for 5.
The lower order chipped in, with Bryan Towle, Paul Summers and Dwayne Buckley all getting into double digits, and supporting Hill to a reasonable 167 from Eastwood’s innings.
Kinoulton suffered a couple of early setbacks, with Fox and Tariq back in the pavilion quickly, but a superb unbeaten 114 from Tom Richards saw Kinoulton home with more than ten overs and eight wickets to spare.
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Danny Noble stole the show in the third team’s 120 run victory over Great Dalby.
Noble hit his first century (103) in league cricket as Eastwood scored a formidable 228 batting first at Hall Park.
Noble received good support from Jack Hatton (44) and Greg Hatherley (27).
Noble chipped in with two wickets opening the bowling for good measure, as Dalby never got going and were all out for 108.
Hatherley claimed two more victims to take his total for the season to 20, and Ryan Esson claimed three lower order scalps as the thirds reclaimed second place in Division P.