Even on the coldest of days, Belvoir found Balderton bowler Luke Endley (6 for 40) too hot to handle.
Endley’s second spell of 5 for 15 turned a solid opening from Belvoir’s top order, at 121-3, into a procession as seven wickets fell for 26. And had Greg Oldfield (42) not been dropped on four, Belvoir’s score may not have reached three figures.
Belvoir’s star bowler was Danny Gibson (5 for 28). He and Joe Bottomley had contained the openers with accurate, well-directed pace bowling when Gibson took a superb return catch off Alan Jackson, turning back in his follow through to dive far to his right.
Less clear to Belvoir’s success, but no less important, were the fields set by captain Tom Neville as countless shots went straight to fielders. As the pressure built, the loose ones were safely caught.
Belvoir’s first change bowler Phil Irvine (8-4-13-3) took charge of Balderton’s mid-innings with another spell of superbly directed and challenging deliveries. Irvine dealt with Balderton’s other main batting threat, Alex Hales (20), who also took three smart catches as keeper.
Joe Beckett and Jordan Ashby batted valiantly, but Gibson’s return accounted for them both to end Balderton’s effort three runs shy of 100.