TUCKER GARDNER PREMIER DIV. 1
St. Ives 125 (39.3 overs) Foxton 160-9 (48 overs)
A tricky visit to St. Ives resulted in a 35 run win for Foxton and the maximum 25 points gained gave their league title hopes a huge boost as rivals Sawston and Wisbech both lost their matches. Winning the toss and deciding to bat on a challenging surface they were soon in trouble losing skipper Gareth Roots and fellow opener Max Bowen in the first four overs. After a third wicket stand of 19 between Chris Pepper and Adam Webster the latter was dismissed to leave the visitors struggling on 22-3 after eight overs. The hosts opening bowler Mitchel Chandler claimed two of the wickets to fall. The remainder of the Foxton innings would now be dominated by the 15-year-old Pepper who shared stands of 35, 23 and 20 with Will Wright, Lawrence Farnum and Tom Stone. In the thirty-first over at the fall of the sixth wicket with the score on 100 the youngster had scored the majority of the runs and was now on 60 and looking totally unruffled. Andrew Kealy coming in at number seven then shared a best of the match stand of 45 to push Foxton to 145 after 44 overs. Pepper had now begun to push for quick runs and when looking set for a deserved hundred was dismissed by spinner Robert Edmond for a superb effort of 81 from 112 balls notching 11 fours. Kealy, who was the ninth wicket to fall was second top scorer with 17 and at tea the visitors efforts closed at 160-9 from 48 overs, although falling short of their hoped for total it was still a competitive score on a sporty surface but much was owed to Pepper. The hosts maintained tight bowling and keen fielding throughout the afternoon and their top bowlers were Chandler with 4-43 and spinner Edmond completing 16 overs with 2-36.
Foxton chose to use the old ball at the resumption employing the pace of Kealy combined with spinner Stone. Despite surviving some anxious moments openers Tom Beale and Richard Greiller after 12 overs had advanced the total to 29. Stone, now into his sixth over then bowled Beale for 20 and Greiller was now joined by the St. Ives captain Matthew Durrant. They then produced another stand of 29 looking mostly untroubled and after 18 overs were on 57-1. The match then took a dramatic swing with the introduction of the new ball and Kealy returning for a second spell. In his first eight balls he dismissed Greiller for 22 along with Will Lygo and Ryan Withers, not troubling the scorers, and the match was now in the visitors favour with the hosts on 58-4. Edmond, coming in at six, after an uncertain start then shared a fifth wicket stand of 38 with Durrant, and after 29 overs with the score on 96 the balance had again tilted, this time in favour of the home side. Bowen was then the sixth bowler used, and with his very first ball effected a vital breakthrough as he had the dangerous Durrant caught behind by Wright for 20. Edmonds, gaining in confidence, now shouldered St. Ives' ambitions and together with Setchell pushed the total to 120-5 after 37 overs. Bowen then struck again in his fifth over claiming Setchell, also caught by Wright and Matthew Wilson l.b.w. first ball. With an inexperienced tail now exposed left hander Edmond, now top scoring with 46, began to go for his shots but with the score on 125-7 he was trapped l.b.w. by Kealy returning for another spell. The Aussie bagged another wicket with his next ball and it was left to Pepper to crown an inspired match for him taking the winning wicket with his third ball to seal the visitors victory. Kealy was again the leading bowler for Foxton with 5-41 from 12 overs, well supported by Bowen with 3-11. A feature of the fielding was four catches by 'keeper Wright, two being splendid diving takes.
With just two matches remaining the league positions are Foxton top on 310 followed by Sawston 272 and Wisbech 271, but they will need to maintain maximum effort, as next week they face a challenging fixture when they entertain Nassington.