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Cricket: Rolleston push Eckington close for Division One victory

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

  • ALL-ROUND SHOW ... Muhammad Zaroob starred with both bat and ball for Rolleston, while above right, Alex Britton scored valuable runs.

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ROLLESTON pushed Division One champions-elect Eckington all the way in a keenly contested encounter at the Willows – but it was the North Derbyshire side that scraped home in the last of the day's scheduled overs.

Taking the bold option of batting first, skipper Mark James (23) and Gareth Marshall (20) scored a very healthy four runs an over for the first 12, seven boundaries helping to keep the scoreboard ticking.

However, South African all-rounder Kyle Heyns made a breakthrough soon after the 50-run milestone had been passed, James' leading edge looping to Andy Lee at mid-off.

Under-16 player Alex Hardy replaced away captain Tom Dawson and struck gold with his first delivery in Division One cricket, bowling Marshall through the gate and then pinning Tom Liversage without scoring.

Matt Ford's three quick boundaries encouraged Heyns' removal, while Alex Britton steadily settled into the groove.

The pair had gradually built Rolleston's highest partnership of the day – 59 runs – before Ford (24) miscued young Archie Gleadall straight to Jake Leonard, who gratefully accepted the opportunity.

To the home team's credit, another solid 50-run partnership was soon to emerge, Muhammad Zaroob announcing his arrival by launching the young spinner back over the garages.

Adam Leonard (2-55) had earlier replaced Hardy (2-12) only to witness Zaroob (50) loft a second maximum as the pace picked up.

It was Gleadall (2-55) who eventually broke the fifth wicket stand when a short pitched delivery was pounced upon by Britton (39), only for Liam Musselwhite to hold his nerve, and the ball, just inside the mid-wicket rope.

Zaroob reached 50 off 41 balls when he again struck Leonard back over his head for six, but promptly returned a soft catch to the jubilant bowler – 183-6.

The last six overs yielded a slightly disappointing 28 runs and two more wickets were lost as the Eckington spinners bowled a decent line and length, the innings closing on 213-8.

Home players were soon celebrating when, first ball after the tea interval, Ben Liversage (2-25) rapped Dan State's pads and the umpire upheld a loud lbw appeal.

Opening bowler Alex Brown broke down early in his spell and was replaced by Zaroob (3-52) but it was Liversage who was next to strike, brother Tom catching out Andy Lee at point.

Heyns (53) and Steve Nicholas (24) suddenly gave the reply some impetus, the boundary count spiralling northwards and the hosts desperate for a breakthrough.

It arrived in the 20th over when Ben Liversage added to his productive day by taking a catch at deep extra cover to remove Nicholas and provide Zaroob the first of his three-in-a-row victims.

Heyns slowed down markedly, scoring just eight in a 46-run partnership with Musselwhite (36) whose entertaining knock used up only 27 deliveries and included two fours and an identical number of sixes.

Zaroob finally claimed him leg before wicket and quickly gained revenge on Leonard thanks to a catch by Marshall at mid-on.

Luke Nelson had been making life difficult for Heyns so it was no surprise when, in the next over, the batsman edged behind to Ford and the visitors were in a battle at 159-6 with thirteen overs remaining.

New men at the crease, Gleadall (14) and Lewis Staniforth (15), took their time to acclimatise, adding a mere five runs in the next five overs, but managing to see off the last of Zaroob's allowance.

Wicket-keeper Staniforth exploded into life and battered 15 runs off eight balls before lobbing up an Britton delivery to Paul Allen at mid-on.

The very capable Dawson was deceptively low in the batting order and made an immediate impact by stroking 10 runs off his first four balls.

But Gleadall appeared to be getting bogged down at the other end until a word of advice from his skipper inspired him to slog-sweep Nelson's next delivery over square-leg for six.

Britton struck back by delivering one that clipped the youngster's off-bail but the visitors required only eight runs off two overs, with two wickets in hand.

A four and a single to Dawson (23no) in the penultimate over virtually sealed matters and it took just one more boundary to secure victory for the runaway Division One leaders.

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