MARCH Town skipper Chris Ringham conceded their Cambs Tucker League title dream is over after his troops lost by four wickets to St Ives in Division One.
March never really recovered from an early batting collapse, which leaves them an insurmountable 28 points behind leaders Ramsey with just one game remaining.
James Hilliard top scored with 31 for the hosts, and the only other notable innings came from David Hodson 22 and Steve Hinson 21 not out in a modest 131 total.
A frustrated Ringham was left to reflect on a nightmare final month, and said of his side’s fading title hopes: “I think it’s mathematically over, as we were already 12 points behind Ramsey, and we only got four points from this match.
“We lost the toss and were put into bat, and were 8 for 3 in the third over. It did a little bit in the conditions, and we knew that.
“We recovered, but we kept losing wickets at regular intervals. We lost two in two balls twice in the innings and five batsmen again failed to make double figures.
“Steve occupied the crease, which meant James and David could play a few shots around him.
“We were always on the back foot, but I was happy with that total as when we were 8 for 3 you think ‘are we going to get bowled out for 50?’ I felt if we got early wickets we had a chance, but it was a decent track and it dried out after the first hour.”
Aussie Matt Wilcox smashed the fourth ball of the innings to the boundary, only to be caught next ball. Carl Chapman lasted just one delivery to complete a terrible first over of the day. The former league leaders limped to 53-5 before recovering to 131 all out at The Avenue.
March needed early wickets, but the visitors opened up with a partnership of 42. From 98-2 March made a game of it with Ringham and Josh Jackman capturing four late wickets and St Ives only got home at 132-6 after an unbeaten seventh-wicket stand of 21.
Two teenagers shone with the ball – Jackman 2-19 off 7 overs and Tyler Phillips 1-17 off 8. Ringham bagged 2-45 and Stuart Mills 1-22.
Ringham commented: “It was good to see two 16 and 19-year-old lads bowling well. We had to take off Josh after seven overs because of his age, and Tyler could have had more wickets as he was beating the outside edge.”
Their final game on Saturday is at home to Khalsa as the side look guaranteed to finish fourth.
“We want to get through Saturday and then we have to sign one or two players over the winter,” said Ringham.
James Harradine maintained his prolific 2nd Xl batting form, hammering an undefeated 85 not out as their season ended with a three wicket friendly win at Godolphin.
The opener starred in the 163-7 response to the hosts’ target, with Richard Green making 19 and teenager Toby Nulty 18.
Nulty took 2-11, with Stuart Arnold and Dave Tufnail both bagging three wickets in Godolphin’s 160 all out.
This Saturday is the club’s annual Aussie Night which will also double as a farewell party to overseas player Matt Wilcox.
March gave themselves a chance to defend the Ernie Wool Trophy against Wisbech next Sunday by defeating Somersham by 7 wickets.
After inserting the home side, March took early control thanks to early wickets and reduced Somersham to 56-6, although they recovered to 131 all out. Sunday new boy, James Shepherd led the wickets with 3-28, while Toby Nulty, David Haslegrave and Jacob Gray all took a brace each. Opening bowler Sam Mason also bowled an economical 6 over spell of 1-17.
The visitors’ young openers Jake Beart 28 (three 4’s and one 6) and Toby Nulty with a composed 38 (two 4’s) added 64 for the first wicket.
David Haslegrave 37 not out (six 4’s) stroked March to victory.