Hardingstone suffered a rare double defeat, but ended up celebrating promotion for the 2nd XI after a challenging Saturday’s cricket.
The 1sts suffered their first loss of the season against a strong Brixworth 3rds at Wootton Rec, while the 2s faltered at Stony Stratford 4ths.
Defeat for Bold Dragoon 2nds against Irthlingborough 3rds proved bitter-sweet – simultaneously clinching promotion from Division 12 while meaning Irthlingborough jump ahead of the 2nds in the race for the title.
The 1st XI, already champions but hoping to go unbeaten throughout the Division 9 campaign, were put in to bat by a Brixworth side looking to boost their own promotion hopes.
Lee Bennet (17) and Ian Roberts (24) put on 34 for the first wicket and Stone batted solidly throughout.
Stand-in skipper Bob Anderson was the pick of the batsmen with a half-century, while Simon “Chappers” Chapman (26) and the returning Phil Monkman (36*) also contributed.
HCC’s total of 182-6 was decent, but perhaps 20 short of what they would have wanted.
In reply, Brixworth lost Rory Green and Lewis Perrin early on, but Rob Dow – who scored a century in the reverse fixture – looked in good form.
When Bennet eventually bowled the opener for 27, the game was in the balance with the visitors needing just under 100 in the last 20 overs.
But although they were both eventually dismissed, Christian Timm (39) and David Bodily (52) scored the bulk of the runs as Brixworth got home with more than two overs to spare.
Ben Miller (2-26) was the pick of the Stone bowlers as they lost by five wickets, picking up seven points in the process.
The 2nds, meanwhile, lost by 42 runs against Stony at Campbell Park despite Jamie Hartnett making 45.
Having won the toss and elected to field, HCC struggled to take wickets but remained economical as the hosts amassed a solid 186-3 in their 40 overs.
Youngster Finley Shelton picked up his first wicket for the club.
In reply, Stone lost openers Alex Piper (11) and Gareth Barnard (13) early on, and never looked quite on target to chase down the total.
Hartnett’s knock eventually came to an end when he was run out, and only Sooraj ‘Regi’ Premsagar (25*) provided any real resistance from the lower order.
The 2s were eventually dismissed for 144, but can look forward to life in Division 11 next season as a result of their hard work this time round.