UTTOXETER won one and lost one as they chase promotion from Division Six South of the Derbyshire League.
The Town lost to Rolleston 3rds on Saturday after an aggressive declaration went wrong before beating Spondon’s third string on Sunday.
Uttoxeter took the short trip to Marchington on Saturday for their match with Rolleston.
They lost the toss on what looked like a difficult wicket to bat on and were inserted by the home skipper.
Uttoxeter lost openers Ashley Young and Ian Bailey early, bringing Mick Hall and Adam Johnson to the crease.
Big-hitting Johnson picked up where he had left off the previous week, getting after the bowling and hitting two sixes and nine fours on his way to 57 before being caught.
Hall was ticking along well and was well supported by Tony Hayes, batting at five. Hall hit 11 boundaries on his way to 71 and with Hayes starting to hit out to another half-century at the other end the scoreboard was in healthy position.
Hayes and Hall both fell to catches after superb innings and it was left to Gavin Hall (8no) before captain Mike Skelham took the attacking move to declare after 42 overs with 230 on the board.
This move backfired as Rolleston applied themselves fantastically well with the bat against some average bowling at times.
The pick of the bowlers was Gavin Hall, who bowled particularly well to return figures of 2-43.
A crucial knock of 61 from Mark Chalkley at the top of the order got the home side on the front foot and with middle order batsmen David Cooke and Jake Edwards finishing not out in the 40s, Rolleston got home with two overs to spare.
Clearly the decision to declare was a bold move and Uttoxeter would almost certainly have come away with a winning draw if the declaration had not come, but the bowling must improve to stay in the hunt for promotion.
Sunday saw Uttoxeter welcome Spondon 3rds to the Racecourse hoping to bounce back from their disappointment the day before.
Skelham won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The attitude of the players was fantastic and they produced some terrific cricket with some of the best fielding of the season.
Skelham was nearly back to his best bowling their opener early on, but it was the returning Jon Walmsley who picked up wickets two and three after two excellent catches from Jan Kasperowicz and Young.
Spin was introduced shortly before drinks with Uttoxeter on top and looking to press home the advantage.
Steve Brookes clean bowled Rory Barton after four maidens had been bowled in a row.Gavin Hall came on after drinks and showed exactly why he is currently the ‘go-to man’ with the ball.
He delivered figures of 4-31 in 10 overs.
Skelham returned to the action to remove his opposite number, clean bowled, and with a smart run out Spondon slumped to 161 all out in the last over.
Uttoxeter once again lost Young early on lbw but Bailey looked to be in one of those moods where he could hit any ball out of the ground as he set about the Spondon attack.
A run out was the unfortunate way to lose the next wicket as Mick Hall was a yard short of his ground, but Bailey’s hitting had already made quite a dent in the score.
Johnson joined Bailey at the crease and was welcomed with three short deliveries which he dispatched to the leg side for four and ensured he set off in quick fashion.
Bailey smashed three massive sixes and five well-struck fours in his innings of 55 before being caught off the bowling of Matthew Hind.
Gavin Hall was promoted up to five and came in and showing aggression from the outset, hitting three fours and a six in a quick fire 24 before being bowled by Hind shortly before the close to give the visitors another point in their quest for safety.
Hayes joined Johnson who was moving steadily to his fifth consecutive half-century and brought this up with a fortunate chip into the offside. Johnson then launched a six over mid-wicket to win the game.