Saturday afternoon saw a classic at The Bury on Church Lane as local rivals Bedford and Kempston Hammers battled it out for pole position of Division Five in the Northamptonshire Cricket League.
The Hammers knew a win would give them the title, while Bedford, lurking two points behind them in the standings needed a result to give them a realistic shot at stealing the crown.
With the weather radar looking ominous, all in attendance were amazed a match was played at all, but after a game which had almost everything, Bedford took maximum points with a nail-biting six run victory.
In a game which see-sawed one way and the other, Bedford looked all but out of the contest as they were reduced to 92-6, thanks in large to the ever dependable Martin McLennan (3-46).
However, Jonny Dove (79) and captain, Thomas Kelk’s half century dragged Bedford to a score of 224; with big chances at the death dropped by Kempston that would end up being key.
With Bedford tails up, Kempston began their chase well and reached 105-1 before Rohit Mehmi came on to bowl and changed the dynamic with 4-19.
All of a sudden, Kempston needed upwards of 9 runs per over, and themselves looked down and out before Dominic Colville’s swashbuckling 40 dragged them back into contention.
But it was too little too late, a six off the last ball for a tie one hurdle too far for a spirited Kempston side who must now hope for a Bedford defeat on the final day to give them any hope of the title.
With just the champions earning promoted to Division Four, the rest of the division will go down to Division Six thanks to a Northamptonshire league restructure.
The race is not over yet though; with one weekend of the season remaining, Bedford will still need to beat Rushton, as Kempston host lowly Milton Keynes Air.
The intensity was less so on Sunday. With Bedford’s 1st XI having already secured promotion; they lost at home to Queens Park Westfield.
Queen’s Park posted 141 with opening batsman Amaan Hussain scoring 50, and it was a total Bedford have had no trouble chasing this season in a successful Sunday campaign.
However, they had not faced Sami Younis, the Queen’s Park opening bowler blowing away the top order with 6-13 as Bedford were bowled out for just 110.
The 2nd XI took a makeshift side to table-topping Eaton Bray in Division Five, with drama ensuing as they managed to scramble a tie off the last ball of a rain-affected game in Dunstable.
Eaton Bray posted 151 with captain Michael Sinha bowling superbly with 3-16 for Bedford, but the rain reduced that target to 135, as the visitors could only reach 134 as both sides took home 16 points.
Tom Carr is a player and volunteer for Bedford Cricket Club