Miller magic as Royston promotion bid hots up

PUBLISHED: 19:17 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

PAUL MILLER S blistering 97 helped Royston to a third straight victory and maintained their push for promotion. Capitalising on the wet conditions, The Crows Martyn Tokley set about the March innings with a double wicket maiden, bowling Wenman and Walli

PAUL MILLER'S blistering 97 helped Royston to a third straight victory and maintained their push for promotion.

Capitalising on the wet conditions, The Crows' Martyn Tokley set about the March innings with a double wicket maiden, bowling Wenman and Wallis with two delightful deliveries.

The hosts, who are one place above Royston in the Cambs Senior Division 2, struggled from the off and a third wicket soon fell in the 11th over with Bryan edging behind to Bason from Chris Hootton.

However, March opener Kabery was working hard and he found runs with several edges but his playing partner Ringham was quickly bowled by Joe Carver for 19.

Carver then took the vital wicket of Kabery for 44 to put March in all kinds of trouble at 80 for 5.

Then Royston captain Matt Gillham struck in successive overs to slice apart their middle order.

Haselgrave was the first for Gillham, before Ken Graham took a brisk low catch for Gillham's second, dismissing Green for 28.

Young Toby Fynn carried on his Keatley Cup exploits by taking a debut wicket, with Arnold caught by Tokley.

At 130 for 8 it looked like Royston would have a straightforward total to chase, but an admirable innings of 49 not out from Nichols took the score away from the visitors to give March a total of 190 for 8.

As the pitch dried out it appeared that batting would be easier, but the March bowling attack stifled openers Matt and Ken Graham from the outset.

Matt Graham fell in the fifth over, caught at midwicket for 6, with Arnold bowling six consecutive maidens as Ken Graham and Chris Milton struggled.

Ken Graham was caught after 21 overs and victory looked out of the question for Royston who were on 40 for 2.

However, March still had the threat of Paul Miller to deal with.

Miller came to the crease as Royston needed a run a ball for the last 25 overs and set about chasing the total down.

He was not helped by the dismissal of Bason and Judge who faced four balls between them, but not before Judge hit a bludgeoning second ball six.

Martyn Tokley joined Miller to form a 62-run partnership, and supported the man of the moment as he rocketed to 50 from 43 balls.

Miller demonstrated a fine balance of maturity and boundary hitting to keep Royston in the frame, displaying some sparkling shots before Tokley was caught on the boundary for an important 18.

Green was the highlight of the March bowling attack, taking three wickets, but Miller made him look pedestrian as he timed a series of mouth-watering sixes to give Royston a thrilling run chase in the final overs.

Gillham struck several essential boundaries to keep the visitors on track, while Miller cruised towards his ton.

However, it was not to be for the Royston hero as the winning runs were scored off a wide, but it was a sensational match-winning innings of 97 from 74 deliveries from the man in form.

Captain Gillham said: "It was a good overall performance, and it is always satisfying to beat teams higher placed in the league.

"It was nice to give a debut to Toby Fynn and he did well by taking his first wicket for the first team."

However, the skipper reserved special praise for man-of-the-match Miller.

He said: "He won us the game. Paul is in great form at the moment and we all hope that it continues.

"We've still got a few players to come back, so we can only get stronger.

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