Everards County League: Syston beat Barkby in thriller to go top

Barkby opener Matt Boyce dispatches Syston bowler Umar Razzaq to the boundary in his 134 EMN-160531-094644002
Barkby opener Matt Boyce dispatches Syston bowler Umar Razzaq to the boundary in his 134 EMN-160531-094644002
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Barkby United entertained local rivals Syston Town in a clash of two top four sides, watched by a large crowd, on Saturday afternoon.

Steve Flowers lost the toss and was invited to bat on a humid day. Ian Kirk and Matt Boyce started the innings off well, with Boyce scoring freely from the outset.

Syston paceman George Corbett sends one down to Barkby's Ian Kirk EMN-160531-094708002

Syston paceman George Corbett sends one down to Barkby's Ian Kirk EMN-160531-094708002

Kirk fell to a sharp catch at extra cover for 16 with the score on 55, but the in-form Tom Flowers continued the momentum with Boyce to carry the score beyond 100 before Flowers played across the line to be bowled for 37.

Skipper Steve Flowers quickly got into his stride and dominated a third wicket stand worth 84 with Boyce, hitting four sixes in a quickfire 55.

Boyce, who continued to put away the bad ball well, marched towards three figures and his century duly arrived with a pull through midwicket on his way to a majestic 132.

He fell five overs before the end as Barkby finished on a healthy 286-8, although they were disappointed not to score upwards of 300, having scored just 63 off the last 10 overs.

Barkby opener Ian Kirk EMN-160531-094655002

Barkby opener Ian Kirk EMN-160531-094655002

Syston’s reply began well with Umar Razzaq and Amer Nazir (19) seeing off the new ball before beginning to up the run rate.

The visitors had progressed to 74 before Kirk got the much needed breakthrough when Nazir was caught by Steve Flowers.

Townsend then struck four overs later as he settled into a nice rhythm to remove Ram Ghuman for 10.

A quick partnership between Razzaq and Charles Wootton gave the visitors momentum, racing the score to 127-2 at the halfway point.

Jamie Drake then removed Razzaq (68), and when Townsend had Fourie caught behind without scoring and Tom Flowers bowled Corbett (10), the game seemed to be swinging in Barkby’s favour at 175-5.

However, missed opportunities and too many bad balls kept the visitors up with the rate, giving them the license to attack in the last 10 overs.

Syston captain Wootton (101 not out) and Charlie Taylor (60 not out) helped his side across the line at the end of the 49th over in a thrilling finale to cap a superb chase and an excellent game.

Barkby took seven points to slip down to eighth, but Syston marched to the top of the Premier with their third win in six.

United will hope to bounce back at Rothley Park on Saturday, while Town host Kibworth.