Leics County League round-up: Melton Mowbray impress in promotion clash

Melton wicketkeeper Simon Claricoates went on to make a match-winning century EMN-170830-120622002
Melton wicketkeeper Simon Claricoates went on to make a match-winning century EMN-170830-120622002
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Melton Mowbray kept themselves firmly in the Division Three promotion hunt with a narrow victory over rivals Barwell at the All England Ground on Saturday.

The two-wicket win moved Melton to within a point of their third-placed opponents and 22 points of leaders Hinckley with three games of the season remaining.

Pete Humphries nearly gets through the defence of batsman Liam 0'Rourke EMN-170830-120611002

Pete Humphries nearly gets through the defence of batsman Liam 0'Rourke EMN-170830-120611002

The home side won the toss and, having put Barwell into bat, did well to restrict the visitors to 186-7 in their 45 overs.

Melton stuttered in reply, but Simon Claricoates carried the innings almost single-handedly as his unbeaten 102 guided the hosts to their target with eight wickets down and almost six overs in hand.

Mowbray’s tally of 11 wins is more than any other team in Division Three and a few more could well lift them to Division Two in 2018.

They look to maintain their fine late season form on Saturday, but face another stern test at second-placed Countesthorpe (12.30pm start).

* Thorpe Arnold’s prospects of Division Two cricket next season hang in the balance after they were shot out for just 65 against fellow strugglers Narborough and Littlethorpe.

The home match looked pivotal in the battle to avoid the drop, but the home side were all at sea having been put into bat.

Having been dismissed in just 20 overs, Narborough reached their target for the loss of two wickets, also in 20 overs.

Thorpe took just one point from the match and dropped back into the bottom two, leapfrogged by Narborough, while bottom side Lutterworth closed to within three points.

Next up for Thorpe is a trip to third-placed Leicester Ivanhoe.

* Barkby United Second XI chalked up a rare win for our sides on Saturday as they closed in on promotion to Division Three.

Ryan Waplington took stunning figures of 7 for 32 as visitors Illston Abbey were skittled for just 75 after deciding to take first bat at Beeby Road.

The Division Four East leaders did not have it all of their own way in reply, but Matt Harby’s unbeaten 40 guided them to a five-wicket win.

Barkby now have a 31-point cushion over second-placed Queniborough, and lead third-placed Highfield by 45 points.

They begin their run-in at fourth-placed Langtons on Saturday.

Queniborough came through a tough battle away to a young Market Overton side.

The visitors were bowled out for 220 just three balls shy of their 45-over allocation, and the Rutland side came within 19 runs of pulling off a great chase before they were bowled out for 201 in the 42nd over.

The defeat leaves Marko one place and 36 points above the bottom two.