West Of England Premier
LECHLADE moved a step closer to the Premier Two with a 91-run win over their title rivals Rockhampton at the Manor Ground on Saturday.
Lechlade have now opened a 24-point lead at the top of the Glos/Wilts division with six games to play.
Lechlade’s Brad Dial and Joe Breet led the way with a third-wicket partnership of 140 which put the hosts firmly in the driving seat early on.
Lechlade, having been put into bat by the visitors, lost both opening batsman Freddie Martin (1) and Will Nichols (2) with only 10 on the board.
Captain Breet joined Dial at the crease and the pair then set about the Rockhampton bowling attack.
Dial, playing a flawless innings, took the lead role in the partnership and Breet the anchor. Dial found the boundary on a regular basis and the pair soon had the scoreboard ticking over at nearly six an over; they had taken the score to 107 by the drinks break.
The pair continued in the same vein after the interval and both batsman looked set for big scores. Dial, closing in on his century, was first to depart when he was trapped LBW by James Hancox for 94 with the score on 150. Dial hit three sixes and nine fours in his 91-ball innings.
Breet then took the lead role, with the support of the middle and lower order, before being dismissed LBW for 85.
Breet, who has recently been dropped from the Wiltshire county squad apparently as a consequence of his poor club form, scored his 85 runs off 94 balls with five fours and five sixes in the innings.
Breet also brought up his 500th run of the season, the first person in the division to do so and is now averaging 56.55 per league game this term.
And while shunned by Wiltshire, Breet has been invited to play for the Gloucestershire Cricket Board team in the Ten10 tournament at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday.
As a consequence of a rain delay the Rockhampton game was reduced to 45 overs.
Lechlade pressed the accelerator for quick runs but they lost wickets cheaply, closing on 259 with Asanka Vithanage scoring a quick-fire 35 off 24 balls at the end.
Rockhampton, in reply, never really got to grips with the run rate. A further break for rain led the winning target being adjusted to 230 off 40 overs but they never really threatened the Lechlade total.
The home side’s bowling unit performed with their now-customary economy, restricting Rockhampton to just 57 runs off the first 20 overs and as a consequence the game was all but over.
Rockhampton eventually closed on 139 with Paul Godding being the pick of the Lechlade bowlers, finishing with 3-29.
Vithanage picked up a brace and Michael Craigs, Luke Sellers and Ryan Higgins all chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Lechlade player-coach Sellers said: “It was a very important win today for the team and it gives us the upper hand and momentum in the title run-in.
“Brad (Dial) and Joe (Breet) showed their true class today and I’m not surprised that they are the two leading batsman in the division thusfar this season.”