UTTOXETER moved within 15 points of promotion from Division Six South of the Derbyshire County League with a win over Wootton Sports Club at the Racecourse.
Adam Johnson hit another half-century as Town chased down Wootton’s 218-8 in 46 overs.
The bit-hitting right-hander creamed 12 fours and two sixes in his 77 to follow up an excellent spell of bowling from off-spinner Jan Kasperowicz (4-38) which destroyed the visitors’ top order.
Uttoxeter were missing young starlet Gavin Hall but welcomed his older brother, Tom, back from the army.
Wooton skipper Clem Mellor called correctly and opted to bat first on what looked another tremendous wicket.
Wootton started well with Sam Jilbert (33) and Mellor (80) attacking from start.
Jon Walmsley started well with the new ball, but Mike Skelham was off colour and did not find his normal line and length.
Runs came far too easily, mainly due to the form of the visiting captain, and changes were needed and it was time for the spin duo of Kasperowicz and Steve Brookes.
Almost instantly the two spin bowlers bowled good areas, allowing Skelham to set fields to stem the flow of runs.
It was not long before Uttoxeter eventually got the breakthrough, having Jilbert expertly caught in the deep by Ian Bailey after Kasperowicz had beat him in the flight.
Kasperowicz instantly responded after drinks, bowling arguably his most crucial spell of the season and trapping the fluent Mellor lbw.
Uttoxeter were buoyed by the wicket of Mellor and soon Kasperowicz had four wickets, bowling Ben Clowes for 15 and Will Tomkinson for four.
A much-improved Skelham returned for a second spell, picking up three crucial wickets in the process, all bowled, with Walmsley also chipping in with the important wicket of Alister Little for 37.
After tea, William Kent swung the ball back into the right handed batsman and soon had Bailey bowled with a superb delivery.
Ashley Young looked in fine fettle at the other end. Mick Hall, Uttoxeter’s leading run scorer, was up to his normal tricks, playing some terrific shots and never looking troubled.
A change of bowling did for Ashley Young as he was bowled by Will Heathcote for a well-made 29.
The in-form Johnson came to the crease and his confidence was clear as he instantly made his mark with some strong shots down the ground and whips to the leg side boundary.
Hall and Johnson took control and started to dictate proceedings, always looking in relaxed mood.
At drinks, Hall and Johnson were ahead of where Wooton had been and new the next passage of play would be important.
Johnson’s answer was to get after the bowling, knocking Heathcote out of the attack as his six overs went for 45 and Peter Fielding’s three overs went for 25.
Mellor’s response was to bring back his opening bowlers and this brought him success as Will Tomkinson had Hall caught behind for 39.
Tony Hayes came in at five and looked at ease rotating the strike well to allow Johnson to continue to his sixth fifty in a row. He fell to a magnificent catch in the deep by Heathcote as he went for one shot too many.
It was left to the returning Tom Hall to come in and finish the game in style. He did not disappoint and ensured his side got home with five overs to spare, finishing with 13 not out.