North Crawley have been dislodged at the top of the Four Counties Division 1 table for the first time this season after an 11-run defeat at the hands of Milton Keynes.
The visitors’ victory means Elstow take over at the top of the league with just two games remaining, having beaten New City by 47 runs.
North Crawley’s defeat comes despite bowling out the visiting side for 169 - and it could’ve been much worse but for Nick Hillman’s 44. Dean Bryce was the pick of the bowlers for the home side, picking up 4-32.
The league’s leading run scorer, North Crawley’s Alex Walker, failed to perform this week though, falling for just 4, but fellow opener Matthew Esh appeared to have taken over where Walker left off, reaching his half century before falling to Daniel Brady.
Like Bryce, Nimesh Chavda added four more wickets to his seasons tally, as Crawley’s batsmen stuttered in the middle order.
There were spirited performances from a handful down the order, but too many single figure scores left the home side up against it.
Despite having overs in hand, Alex Piper took the decisive wicket of Ian Gillam with Crawley on 158 to complete the victory.
Meanwhile, Elstow’s Matthew Stevens hit 96 against New City, as the home side set 211-6 at the change.
Steve Russell though had the bit between his teeth, and took 5-37 as he smashed through New City’s top order.
While there were starts, there were no huge scores for the visitors, and it culminated in their 164 score as Elstow took over at the top by 12 points.
Olney Town came within touching distance of victory against relegation strugglers Biddenham, but were left with a losing draw.
Bowling out the hosts for 172, Olney had wickets in hand, but simply ran out of overs, finishing on 170-8 - three runs shy of the victory.
The middle of the table couldn’t be much closer, with eight points separating third and sixth. MK City occupy that sixth spot though after losing to Thurleigh by 29 runs.
Ishtiaq Siddiq took a fine 5-46 as Thurleigh were all out for 170.
But with seven MK City batsmen scoring single figures, it was always going to be an uphill task, and they were bowled out for 141.
Aspley Guise (156-8) took a step towards securing the second automatic promotion slot in Division 2 with a winning draw against Bromham (126-7). They’re just four points clear of New Bradwell (119), who suffered a shock defeat to Old Bradwell (121-8), who still find themselves in the drop zone.
Buckland & Aston Clinton (82-3) made light work of North Crawley 2nds (80), while Newport Pagnell (89-2) comfortably saw off the threat of an under-strength Cranfield University (87-9) to win by eight wickets.
It’s still all to play for in Division Three, with Printers (247-9 dec) thrashing Caddington (100) and Westcroft (267-4) beating Tring Park 4ths (65) by 202 runs.