Greene King Glos CCL Div Two
Poulton 161-5
Hatherley & Reddings 2nd XI 157-7

POULTON took a huge step towards securing promotion to GCCL Division One with a comfortable home victory over promotion rivals Hatherley & Reddings.

After the inclement weather during the week, captain Ross Cutts decided to buck the normal trend at Englands and chose to field first. His decision paid early dividends, with 16-year-old opening bowlers James Newman and Dan Davies each taking a wicket to give Poulton the upper hand.

When Davies struck again to remove Ollie Perks for four thanks to a superb catch from wicketkeeper Jon Maunder, Hatherley were reeling at 22-3 after 12 overs.

The reliable Charlie Buse and Liam James continued to build the pressure in typically economical fashion.

Andrew Perks and Rob Hall then dug in well for Hatherley, taking the score past 50 before Buse removed Hall for 15 just before drinks to give Poulton a boost.

Perks found a willing partner in John Willshire and the pair fought back, Perks going to a well- made 50 as Hatherley reached 110-4 with 10 overs left.

The introduction of Robbie James brought immediate rewards, as he took two quick wickets to halt any Hatherley revival and when Sam Denning removed Perks for 72 with two overs left, Poulton closed out the innings clinically and Hatherley could reach only a below par 157-7.

Poulton's opening pair Scott Meredith and Jody Lawrence started the reply in positive fashion, playing fluently and running well between the wickets.

After nine overs Poulton had reached 39-0 and were seemingly cruising to an emphatic victory. Andy Theedom was brought into the attack and he brought his team back into the game, clean bowling Lawrence for 17 and Denning for 0 with excellent deliveries in successive overs.

New batsman Mark Burton then began to put the pressure straight back on the Hatherley bowlers, peppering the boundary five times early in his innings to put Poulton firmly in control.

In partnership with Meredith, the pair took Poulton halfway to their target inside 20 overs before Theedom struck again, having Meredith caught behind for 36.

Skipper Cutts and Maunder both played the supporting role for Burton, who was taking his side to victory and reached an excellent 50 as Poulton needed just 40 for victory with 15 overs left.

With the victory in sight, Maunder was spectacularly caught and bowled with just five needed to win.

The wicket proved to be nothing but a late consolation as Burton smashed a four over long on to finish on 82 not out and see Poulton across the line with five overs to spare.

Poulton travel to bottom-of-the-table Gloucester City Winget 2s on Saturday knowing that a victory will see seal promotion with a game to spare.