League leaders Dinton draw with second-placed Cove but stay top ... just

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Dinton could not extend their lead at the top of the Home Counties League as second-placed Cove closed to level on points after the sides met on the weekend.

On a sunny start to the day stand-in captain Shakil Ahmed won the toss and asked Cove to bat first.

Faisal Ali wasted little time in finding his rhythm bowling Cove Captain Chris Benham off stump early for a duck.

Nheem Amin and Faisal Ali bowled well with the new ball without much luck, Ali striking again in the same spell to remove Saad Khan for 12, Ahmed taking a smart catch over his head. Neil Randall and James Marsh then steadied the innings for Cove; it took the introduction of Shakil Ahmed to break the partnership, removing Marsh.

Alister Gibbons and Shakil Ahmed then worked in tandem to restrict Cove and force mistakes from the batsmen, only Neil Randall managing to score with any freedom or consistency. Randall though kept scoring freely and fluently striking Ahmed for some hefty sixes, though in the process rode his luck getting dropped three times. With Randall running out of partners the run rate dropped and Cove eventually petered out to finish on 212 all out. Randall finished on an impressive 138 not out.

With Dinton feeling confident of chasing the total, the innings didn’t get off to a good start losing Joe Wilcox to Yorker early. Alister Gibbens came to the crease and played positively from the start driving with confidence; Rob King and Gibbens steadied well and continued to build well despite the loss of King.

Alan Massey came to the crease played positively assisting Gibbens well. Gibbens moved to 50 and with Massey looking assured, Dinton looked as they could chase the total with ease. But spinners N Bashir Malik and J Zaman bowled well breaking the partnership, from there Dinton lost regular wickets with the run rate rising, the task looked too much especially when Gibbens fell for 85, Dinton eventually finishing on 170-9.

The draw leaves Dinton still top but Cove close the gap and now joint on points with Dinton.