Everards County League: Barkby United Seconds close in on leaders despite draw

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Barkby Seconds were denied victory, but an impressive winning draw reduced the gap at the top of Division Five East.

On a hot and humid day at Beeby Road, skipper Adam Cookson won the toss and batted first against Bharat Sports on Saturday.

Openers Ben Hollis and Lloyd Phillips made an electric start with early boundaries, and Phillips maintained the aggressive approach until he was caught behind for a breezy 28 in the seventh over.

Hollis (15) was trapped lbw with the score 62-2, but Jack Wood mirrored Phillips’ approach with a range of boundary hitting, including a pull shot striking a passing vehicle. Wood raced to 37 in a third wicket partnership worth 53 alongside Ryan Waplington, before being dismissed leg before.

Waplington (38) and Billy Tebbatt (35) played well against the Bharat spinners, punishing the bad balls and running hard between the wickets.

Late hitting from all-rounder Fred Hammond (29) ensured Barkby United reached 200, with other contributions from the lower order closing the innings on 217-8 to cap a good all-round batting performance.

Bharat Sports’ reply started well as they tried to take charge until Amit Barchha (8-2-25-1) struck in the 14th over, bowling opener Rahul.

Paceman Alex Smithard was unlucky not to take a wicket in a ferocious opening spell before Cookson turned to experienced spinner Dave Botting.

Another four-wicket haul from Botting’s 12 overs (4 for 40) heaped on the pressure, including a sharp catch from keeper Phillips standing up to the stumps.

Bharat’s lower order began to frustrate Barkby’s attack when they realised an away win was out of the question.

But a late wicket apiece from Ryan Waplington (6-0-23-1), Adam Cookson (3-0-19-1), Fred Hammond (2-0-8-1) and Alex Smithard (9-2-20-1) set up a tense finish.

Opening batsman Daarmj (51 not out) carried his bat for the full 45 overs, fending off pace and blocking out spin, and helped the number 11 to deny Barkby victory by a solitary wicket, 35 runs short on 182-9.

The 19-point haul moved third-placed Barkby within 11 points of the leaders. They travel to Market Harborough Seconds on Saturday.