Thorpe Arnold CC hang on to go 61 points clear

Thorpe Arnold CC First XI, from left, back - Lewis Perry, Mark Starkey, Jordan Hirst, Myles Hickman, James Pepperdine, Dan Pegg; front - Adam Clarke, Mark Carnell, Rich Randall, Sam Pollard, Lewis Postle EMN-190626-081409002
Thorpe Arnold CC First XI, from left, back - Lewis Perry, Mark Starkey, Jordan Hirst, Myles Hickman, James Pepperdine, Dan Pegg; front - Adam Clarke, Mark Carnell, Rich Randall, Sam Pollard, Lewis Postle EMN-190626-081409002
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Thorpe Arnold closed in on the County League Division Two title after surviving a late scare at Billesdon on Saturday.

Myles Hickman was once again to the fore in the one-wicket win which saw the First XI stretch their lead to 61 points with just five games left.

Thorpe travelled to a blustery Billesdon and on arrival water had got under the covers, making for an interesting wicket.

Thorpe bowled first, but the wicket wasn’t helping the pace of Hickman so after four overs Tim Hirst came on and got the ball seaming both ways.

At the other end Pepperdine was beating the bat three or four times an over, but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Hirst finally got the first wicket when the opener played on, and quickly trapped the number three lbw to leave Billesdon 45-2 from 15 overs.

Pepperdine finally picked up a well-deserved wicket in his last over as the hosts felt the pressure.

Hickman returned at the other end and found it more to his liking as he proved too quick for the remaining batsmen, picking up five quick wickets to mop up the tail again.

Billesdon finished all out for 122, leaving Thorpe confident of a win, particularly when Dom Exton and Myles Hickman set about the total with great intent, putting on 55 in 10 overs until Exton was out caught behind.

Hickman was out for 45, but Pollard continued to score freely until he was out for 40 with Thorpe almost home on 102-3.

But a mad 20 minutes almost undid all the good work as Billesdon changed bowlers and quickly went through the middle order.

When Randall was run out, Thorpe still needed 12 to win with the last pair at the crease.

Up stepped Lewis Postle (4 not out) and Joe Anderson (9 not out) as the latter hit a beautiful square cut to win the game to great relief.

On Saturday, Thorpe host crosstown rivals Egerton Park in a huge derby clash (1pm start).

Billesdon: 122.

Bowling: M. Hickman 9-3-32-5; J. Pepperdine 12-2-35-1; T. Hirst 11-3-19-2; L. Postle 2-0-12-1; J. Anderson 2-0-14-0.

Thorpe: D. Exton 7, M. Hickman 45, S. Pollard 40, C. Read 0, M. Carnell 1, J. Pollard 6, R. Randall 2, T. Hirst 0, J. Pepperdine 0, L. Postle 4*, J. Anderson 9*, Extras 9. Total: 123-9.