Thorpe Arnold CC fight back to preserve 100 per cent record

Myles Hickman (left) and James Pepperdine rescued Thorpe with an 86-run stand EMN-190705-160123002
Myles Hickman (left) and James Pepperdine rescued Thorpe with an 86-run stand EMN-190705-160123002
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A magnificent ninth-wicket stand preserved Thorpe Arnold’s perfect start to the season as the Division Two leaders made it six wins from six on Saturday.

Thorpe looked to be heading for their first defeat as they slumped to 115-8 chasing Shepshed’s total of 200.

But opening bowlers Myles Hickman (70 not out) and James Pepperdine (25 not out) combined to drag the hosts to a thrilling two-wicket win with four balls to spare.

On a blistering hot day with the track looking like a road, Thorpe captain Richard Randall finally won a toss and elected to bowl first.

Hickman’s impressive early bowling soon found the edge, but Kingsley Miller dropped Andrew Gibson on seven, and it proved costly as the opener went on to make 97.

Pepperdine opened the doors with two early wickets and applied good pressure throughout his spell.

Chris Waldron then kept the run rate down until he was forced off with a foot injury, but Hickman returned and made the breakthrough with three quick wickets. Kingsley Miller supported Hickman with spin and also claimed three wickets before Waldron hobbled back for an over at the end and took a wicket as Shepshed set a very competitive 200-9.

Dom Exton and Kingsley Miller set out to build a strong early platform, but Exton departed without scoring and after bullying the bad ball early on, Miller then snicked off.

Lewis Perry played some brilliant shots until he cut a ball to point, and Richard Garner hit a huge six over the clubhouse in as he blasted 26 before skying one into the air.

Adam Clarke (31) was next in and continued his good form, manoeuvring the ball around the field until he hit a full toss straight at the fielder.

Hickman arrived and watched Rich Randall and Sam Pollard fall cheaply to leave Thorpe staring down the barrel at 115-8.

But then the fightback. Hickman had to go big early on and picked apart Shepshed’s attack for a quick 50.

As Thorpe reached 175-8 with four overs left, belief and hope started to grow, but with all of the fielders on the rope for Hickman, it was hard to see where boundaries would come from.

Up stepped Pepperdine who started hitting sixes straight over the bowler’s head, making a huge 25 not out to cap an unlikely comeback with an unbroken 86-run stand.

Thorpe will be without five players for Saturday’s trip to Kirby Muxloe.