UTTOXETER seconds put in another strong performance on Saturday against lowly Derby Congs but were forced to settle for a winning draw after a resolute rear-guard action by their hosts.
Town skipper Dave Whitehead lost the toss on a very wet, soft wicket at the uncovered King George V playing fields and inevitably Uttoxeter were asked to bat.
Tom Wheeldon and Stan Maxwell set about their task in determined fashion and after a few early scares started to punish any loose deliveries.
Wheeldon was particularly severe, crashing boundaries on his way to a century at more than a run a ball.
When he was finally dismissed for a superb 116 the scoreboard had rattled along to 160 in the 33rd over – giving the Town side a great platform to post an imposing score.
Maxwell (57 not out) continued to hold the innings together and a further 79 runs were added in the final 13 overs, with Rich Griffiths , David Powell-Jones and Ed Browne – who struck two of the last three deliveries of the innings for huge sixes over mid off.
After tea, Uttoxeter came out in determined fashion with Dave Hunt and Steve Wilde bowling with some hostility.
Wilde took two early wickets but Congs then consolidated as Neil Russell (72) stroked several boundaries, being particularly severe on anything short of length.
It was not until Rich Stewart was introduced to the attack that the Town side really took a hold of the game as Stewart began to take wickets whilst Dave Hunt kept Russell tied down at the other end.
Stewart yielded 5-28 and when Jim Malkin took the eighth wicket in the 38th over, it looked like Town side would cruise to victory.
However Thandi (49no) had other ideas as he cleverly farmed the strike, keeping his inexperienced partner protected, seeing the game through for his side without further loss on 170-8.
Uttoxeter took 19 points to remain firmly in second.