ROLLESTON were pipped at the post by Division One promotion-chasing Quarn- don in a relatively low-scoring match at the Willows.
The visitors won with only three balls and two wickets to spare following a fightback by the home attack.
The afternoon had started quite brightly for the hosts, opting to bat and gliding to 50 without loss after 13 overs.
But the next eight overs completely changed the complexion of the match.
Mark James (25) had earlier smashed a boundary and a huge six off consecutive Owen Hughes deliveries.
Michael Lidsey's introduction was enough to break the opening partnership when the home skipper cut straight to Adrian Rollins at gully.
Paul Allen (lbw) and Gareth Marshall (28), caught behind by Harry Clamp, soon followed, both batsmen claimed by Charles Percival (2-21).
Quarndon switched to a spin attack and captain Nathan Dumelow (2-46) announced his arrival with a wicket maiden, Alex Britton on the back foot clipping one to Ben Spendlove at first slip.
When R S Haider held on to a fiercely-struck half-volley by Zaroob and, in his next over, turned one off the edge of Scott Cobley's bat to Spendlove, the hosts were in deep water on 104-6.
Dumelow and Haider continued to make life difficult for Matt Ford (48) who was determined to anchor the innings.
He and Alex Brown ground out 18 runs from the next eight overs before Brown received a contentious lbw decision.
Ford continued to impress, his new partner Ben Liversage twice stroking Haider (5-61) to the rope before falling leg before.
The pair had at least increased the run rate and Jack Sanderson (30) continued, including four boundaries.
However, when so close to notching a half-century, Ford stepped to the leg-side in an attempt to square-cut Dumelow but the ball headed straight towards Haider who completed an excellent forward diving catch.
Last man Luke Nelson (7no) and Sanderson occupied the crease until the final over and had added 27 runs before the latter went for a big hit and fell to Haider, stumped by Clamp – 189 all out.
Knowing that the visitors had two very accomplished and dangerous batsmen in their line-up - namely Spendlove (69) and Dumelow (50) – the hosts recognised the difficult task ahead.
But Liversage immediately raised expectations by bowling Rollins in the first over.
Fellow opener Thomas Ansell twice edged Liversage behind, once through slips and once just evading Ford's gloves.
Zaroob replaced the frustrated Liversage and Ansell (13) didn't bother waiting for the umpire's decision after nicking to the wicketkeeper.
Rolleston players then endured 24 overs in which five different bowlers took a turn at breaking the Spendlove/Dumelow partnership.
The away skipper had initially edged Zaroob between first and second slip to get off the mark with a boundary, but he gradually became more assured.
A huge leg before appeal was turned down by the umpire when Britton rapped him on the pads, the feeling being that the game was slipping slowly away from the hosts.
But having just reached fifty (off 83 balls) Dumelow launched a Nelson delivery high to the mid-wicket boundary where Cobley claimed a solid catch.
Spendlove had just reached his own half-century (89 balls) and Quarndon had no need to panic at 120-3 with 13 overs still in the locker.
Michael Lidsey (27) matched Spendlove's increased scoring rate and the pair added another 40 runs before Alex Brown returned to the attack and the number three lofted one to Paul Allen who collected at long-on.
The former Derbyshire and Cheshire batsman had included 12 boundaries in his 45 over stay in the middle.
The visitors began the last five overs with six wickets in hand and 29 runs required for victory.
Zaroob (2-56) forced an edge off new batsman Haider but no slip fielders were present and the ball whistled to the rope.
History repeated itself three balls later, and a stylish clip off his legs secured the all-rounder his third boundary of the over, the final delivery of which rapped his pads and predictably led to his leg before dismissal.
Needing only 15 runs from four overs, the innings suddenly began to fall apart.
Percival faced only one delivery which he smacked straight to Britton at mid-on and Liversage scored a direct hit to end non-striker Lidsey's day as he stretched to complete a risky second run.
So when Brown (3-28) bowled Jon Acton the scene was set – one over left, five runs required and two batsmen to come.
Zaroob started with a dot ball as the pressure mounted, but the following ball was dropped short and Clamp smacked it towards his joyous team-mates in the pavilion.
A swiftly taken single ended Rolleston's hopes and resulted in 27 points for Quarndon, seven for Rolleston.
The two sides are scheduled to meet again in the Marston's Smooth Cup Final on August Bank Holiday Monday.