Thorpe Arnold CC bounced back from their heavy defeat at Houghton and Thurnby to move within six points of promotion.
The bowlers were once again to the fore as Thorpe claimed a 46-run win in a low-scoring match at home to Ibstock Town on Saturday.
With two games left and a maximum of 50 points up for grabs, Thorpe sit 34 points clear at the top of Division Two, and 45 clear of third-placed Loughborough Town Seconds in the promotion race.
Losing the toss in bowler-friendly conditions, Thorpe were asked to bat first and Dom Exton, in his last game for the club before moving to Newcastle, was unable to go out with a bang, bowled second ball as the ball nipped about.
Only Mark Starkey (28) managed to look comfortable, but a vitally important 35 not out by Adam Clarke allowed Thorpe to reach a below-par 115.
With Thorpe unable to use their full allocation of 45 overs, Ibstock had to bat for six overs before tea and the division’s best opening attack took two wickets to build pressure on the visitors.
Myles Hickman was again the chief tormentor, bowling a spell of pace and accuracy to reduce Ibstock to 33-4, while James Pepperdine completed his spell with figures of 1 for 27 from 10 overs.
Kingsley Miller came on at Hickman’s end and through excellent spin bowling took four wickets to destroy the middle order.
Hickman returned and bowled the Ibstock captain for 30 in his first over back to and remove the visitors’ last realistic hope of victory.
Miller then took the final wicket in his next over to bowl out Ibstock for just 69 and complete a gutsy win in difficult conditions.
Thorpe could seal a return to Division One on Saturday when they host Loughborough Town Second XI (12.30pm start).
Thorpe: D. Exton 0, M. Hickman 15, M. Starkey 28, K. Miller 16, M. Carnell 0, A. Clarke 35*, R. Garner 2, C. Waldron 0, T. Hirst 3, J. Pepperdine 6, R. Randall 0, Extras 10. Total: 115.
Bowling: M. Hickman 9-4-15-5; J. Pepperdine 10-2-27-1; K. Miller 5.3-1-27-4.