FAIRFORD firsts secured a dramatic tie in a high-scoring game at Aston Ingham, due largely to a superb 145 by Lee Clark.
Readers Glos CCL Div Three
Aston Ingham 299-7
Aston Ingham won the toss and on what looked a batting paradise of a wicket, had no hesitation in electing to bat first.
Jack Carpenter, opening for Aston Ingham, played freely and aggressively and with the help of a fast outfield and some short boundaries set the home team on course for a large total.
Carpenter eventually fell for 91, excellently caught in the deep by Colin Bullock.
That brought the home team skipper, Andrew Bevan to the wicket, however, and he scored a quick-fire century to lead Aston Ingham to an imposing 299-7.
Fairford's bowlers all toiled hard in the heat, with two late wickets from Colin Denness holding back Aston's run charge.
Despite the early loss of Craig Muir, Fairford set off steadily in their run chase.
Lee Clark was joined by Graham Clarke and they took the score to 78. However, three wickets then fell for just 10 runs, leaving Fairford 88-4, with stroke players Clarke (39), Sam Young and Derek Townsend all back in the pavilion, and the required run rate now at nine an over.
Clark was joined by Richard Young and both started to play with increasing confidence, Young aggressively hitting the ball to the boundary seven times in his 40, while Clark continued his calm, measured, classy shot selection.
When Young was out, the pair had added 85 in quick time and had brought the visitors back into the match.
Guy Bailey joined Clark and the pair added a further 80, Clark now stepping up his hitting and reaching his century with one of his many well struck boundaries.
With two overs left, 25 were still required. Clean hitting from both Clark and Colin Bullock saw the last over begin with eight needed to win, and with Clark hitting a four off the first ball, the visitors sensed victory.
However, intelligent and tight bowling by the home skipper Bevan resulted in two dot balls in a row. Fairford still needed one run off the last ball to win. Bullock missed, and the home wicket keeper ran out the despairing Clark to end the game in a tie.