Upminster beaten by Billericay in Essex League Division One
PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 August 2016
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Thrilling derby goes down to the last ball
Upminster remain 51 points clear at the top of Essex League Division One, despite suffering a last-ball defeat to lowly Billericay.
Alan Ison’s men claimed 10 bonus points in defeat, matching the total collected by rivals Southend in their drawn match with Harlow, and are strong favourites to be crowned with only three matches remaining.
Ison chose to bat after winning the toss, but Shafiq Rahman and Louis Pickering fell cheaply to Adam Marchant.
Julian Whetstone (43) and Shahbaz Butt (54) combined for a notable stand, before both succumbed to Ross Poulton, but the rest of the batting line-up struggled.
Harry Jenkins and Connor Whetstone made it into double figures, before also being dismissed by Poulton as he finished with 5-35 from his 16 overs, and Matt Tigg made 23 to help lift the total to 183.
Paul Martin (42) and Nick Van Lint got Billericay off to a solid start in reply, before Connor Whetstone made the breakthrough.
Van Lint went on to score his maiden first team half-century and reached 66 before also falling to Whetstone.
But Andy Smith (22) and captain David Houghton (28) kept Billericay on track, before they both fell to Tigg, who added a third scalp in Chris Tait.
Whetstone had also taken a third wicket in the form of the dangerous all-rounder Poulton and John Curtis claimed a quickfire brace to raise Upminster’s hopes.
But Billericay’s last-wicket pair of Chris Horton and Robert Rayner scampered the winning run from the final ball of the match to secure a vital victory in their battle to avoid the drop back down to Division Two.
And Upminster must now wait until their meeting with bottom club Loughton next weekend to secure their place in the Premier Division for 2017.
It could be a case of history repeating itself, as Upminster gained promotion to the top flight with a win over Loughton at The Uplands a few years ago.