Everards County League: Barkby hopes alive despite tough day at Sileby

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Barkby United will go into the final week of the season with a chance of a remarkable Premier Division runners-up spot despite a disappointing performance at Sileby.

United took just two points away from Saturday’s rain-affected losing draw and dropped to fourth, leapfrogged by Sileby.

But Barkby, who were relegated in their only previous Premier Division campaign, remain just five points behind second-placed Loughborough Town whom they host in their final math on Saturday (noon start).

Heavy showers delayed the start at Sileby and the match was reduced to 20 overs a side with Barkby winning the toss and electing to field.

Ian Kirk and Alex Smithard took the new ball and started nicely, and the visitors thought they had an early breakthrough when Kirk found the edge, but the wicket was overturned when Smithard was found to be outside the circle.

Smithard beat the bat several times and was unlucky not to take a wicket, but the Sileby openers found their range.

Morris came on and began well with his array of slower balls, but was removed after his second over, and Townsend and Drake were called upon to stop the flow of runs.

Drake (2 for 26) deceived the opener and clung on to a sharp caught and bowled, and had the other opener caught smartly by Wilkinson on the boundary. He almost had three, but the usually reliable Wilkinson dropped the chance.

At the other end, runs continued to flow, as the batsmen took full advantage of anything loose. Morris (1 for 37) picked up a third wicket at the death as Sileby closed on 180-3.

Tom Flowers latched onto two loose early deliveries as Barkby started positively, but he was caught at third man for 7, and Kirk (1) soon followed.

Morris (16) played a few big shots, but was the third wicket to fall, caught off the bowling of Jigar Naik.

Wilkinson (3) was bowled, and Townsend fell shortly after, well caught for five. With Barkby opting to bat out the overs for a draw, Steve Flowers was bowled for 14, and Drake (5) was bounced out to leave Barkby reeling at 64-7.

Martin Troop dug in and debutant Matt Bartram battled away against some fiery short-pitched bowling, but was unlucky to be caught while ducking a short ball.

Troop (10 not out) batted sensibly to help Barkby close their 20 overs on 74-8.