LECHLADE lost a nail-biting encounter at Biddestone on Saturday by four runs and had their lead in the Glos/Wilts title race cut to just 11 points.

WEPL Glos/Wilts Division

Biddestone 238-4

Lechlade 234 all out.

Biddestone, batting first, posted 238 thanks to some poor fielding from the visitors and a captain's innings of 99 from Lechlade’s nemesis Dwaine Perry.

Perry supported first by Jamie Mitchell (41) and then Andy Flynn (52) took the score from 36-2 to 228-4 after the opening success of Luke Sellers and Michael Craigs.

Perry fell one short of his century, bowled by Craigs in the penultimate over, as he looked unselfishly for quick runs at the end of the Biddestone innings.

Perry’s knock lasted for 115 balls and included 14 fours.

Lechlade’s below-par fielding performance proved to be costly with Perry being dropped four times during his innings; they also conceded 32 extras.

Lechlade, in reply, got off to a bad start with the loss of Freddie Martin in the second over for two.

The Lechlade batsman were never allowed to settle – Joe Breet (40), Brad Dial (33) and Arran Dickinson (21) all got starts but none was able to build on it and Lechlade found themselves struggling on 167-8.

Ryan Higgins had come to the crease with the fall of Dickinson’s wicket and watched from the other end as a procession of batsman came and went. Higgins and Craigs then gave Lechlade hope as they built Lechlade’s biggest partnership of the day (54) to take Lechlade to 221 before Craigs was bowled by Perry for 23.

With Lechlade requiring 18 runs off the last 13 balls Higgins struck out in an attempt to secure a last-gasp win and scored 13 off the next over. Lechlade were back in the driving seat with Higgins still on strike and five required in the final over.

However, Perry (5-26) had other plans and off the second ball of the final over he had Higgins caught in the deep by Neil Bredenkamp as the Zimbabwean looked to secure another boundary and a dramatic win for Lechlade. The heroic Higgins finished with 51 off 57 balls, scoring nine fours.

Lechlade captain Joe Breet said: “It was a disappointing result for us today and a below-par performance all round.

"Biddestone deserved the win and we again allowed Dwaine (Perry) to dominate us with the bat – despite the opportunities we had to dismiss him early on – and then with the ball in the second innings.”