Title-chasing Sproxton suffered their first defeat of the Grantham and Melton Association season as Bottesford won a last-ball thriller on Sunday.
The two-wicket home defeat saw them top Division One by just two points from second-placed Harlaxton, and nine points ahead of third-placed Belvoir, as the chasing pack took advantage.
Having won the toss and batted first, all of Sproxton’s top six reached double-figures, but only skipper Ben Ryder (35) and Jake Hutchinson (40) got out of the teens.
Ryan Charlesworth (4 for 37) threatened to sweep the innings away, but 25 useful runs from Simon Naylor helped Sproxton to a competitive 172 from their 40 overs.
Lee Fazackerley and James Jessop gave the hosts the perfect start in the reply, dismissing the Bottesford top three with just two runs between them.
Daniel Pinfold (62) and Dave Allen (37) put the visitors back on course, until Ben Ryder’s three wickets put the game in the balance once more.
But Will Seymour (31 not out) and Alasdair Culpin (9 not out) kept their cool to secure victory off the final ball.
Belvoir enhanced their promotion chances with a commanding win over top-four rivals Illston Abbey.
The home side overcame the loss of three cheap early wickets to post an imposing 265-8 thanks to half-centuries from Samuel Penford (59), Tom Henderson (63) and Aled King (66), and particularly a 135-run sixth-wicket stand between the latter two.
Then it was over to Ben Robinson who dismantled Abbey’s top order, taking the first four wickets to reduce the visitors to 63-4.
After some brief middle-order resistance, Gareth King mopped up the tail as Illston lost their final four wickets for nine runs, slumping to 111 all out.
n Division Two leaders Queniborough Seconds stayed three points clear of Evington Lions with a nine-wicket win over Stamford.
Phil Palfreyman (3 for 1) and Suveg Singh (3 for 27) helped bowl out the visitors for just 126 before John Edmunds (31) and Steven Coddington (58 not out) eased the home side to their target with almost six overs in hand.
Buckminster and Barrowby stayed hot on their heels in third after a tight victory at Frisby, Hoby and Rotherby.
Sammy Hardy (61) and captain Jack Berry (95) helped the visitors post a challenging 245-7.
Frisby openers Matt Lacey (102 not out) and Adam Holland (89) looked set to finish a brilliant run chase, but once David Robinson removed Holland and then David Iliffe, the home side fell just eight runs short on 237-4.
Upwardly mobile Melton Mowbray moved into the top four with a huge 168-run win at Welby Cavaliers.
Skipper James Cusack carried his bat for an unbeaten 108, and even after Simon Claricoats retired on 68, Jamie Tew’s unbeaten half-century propelled the visitors to 261-3.
In reply, Welby crumbled to 93 all out as the Melton attack shared the wickets around, Kian Mistry the pick with 3 for 18.