Everards County League: Dominant Barkby United up to third

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Barkby United First XI moved up to third in the Premier Division as they returned to winning ways on Saturday with a comfortable victory over Market Harborough at Beeby Road.

Opening bowlers Ian Kirk and Will Fazakerley were unavailable, but despite this, skipper Steve Flowers asked the visitors to bat first on a green, but flat wicket.

James Kirk and Louis Botting took the new ball and had mixed fortunes with Tom Flowers unable to cling on to a straightforward chance at slip. Botting provided control with an accurate line and length, as did Kirk’s replacement Aiden Morris, but the breakthrough remained elusive.

Rain came and went a few times to force the players off, but the game turned dramatically when spinners Drake and Townsend were introduced in tandem.

From a healthy 83-0 off 17 overs, Drake trapped the opener in front and then took a second.

Townsend’s first ball was swept away by Taylor (71) and the theme continued until his next over when he teased the batsmen into a shot too many and a top edge found Morris at cow corner (125-3).

The spinners continued to apply the squeeze as Townsend picked up two more to finish with 10-2-42-3. Drake (2 for 27 from 10) was also impressive, but at 180-5 and with the spinners bowled out, Barkby needed some medium pace inspiration.

Matt Boyce produced a delightful spell of 7-0-23-3 and a smart run-out by skip Steve Flowers accounted for his opposing number and Harborough ended with a below par 215-9 off 50 overs.

Tom Flowers and Boyce motored along against the wayward Harborough attack, bringing 50 up inside seven overs. Boyce didn’t look in any trouble, but was then caught behind for 28 attempting a loose cut shot.

Jack Wilkinson, making his maiden first team appearance of the season, looked completely assured from the moment he came to the crease as the pair rotated the strike superbly and were ruthless on the bad balls.

With just 40 needed and the score at 175-1, Wilkinson upped his scoring rate, capping a fantastic knock with his first Premier League 50.

Flowers (94 not out) caressed the winning runs through the covers to seal a commanding nine-wicket victory inside 35 overs.

Barkby continue their quest for a top three finish at home to Earl Shilton on Saturday (12.30pm start).