GRANT Thornton’s terrific all-round performance keeps Leamington in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League with one match remaining.
Coming into Saturday’s match, Smethwick were second and Leamington fourth with both sides having hopes of gaining promotion.
And it was Smethwick who gained the early advantage as having won the toss they soon reduced Leamington to 47-5 on a soft, damp wicket due to the dreadful weather endured recently.
A sixth wicket partnership of 52 between Jonathan Wigley (32) and David Bailey (28) put the innings back on track but it was the sparkling innings of Grant Thornton (77 not otu) who really put Leamington in control as the home side closed on 206 for nine.
In reply, the Smethwick innings followed a similar pattern to Leamington’s as Thornton ripped through the top order to reduce the away side to 18 for three.
However, while Poonia was at the crease both results were still possible but when Shahbaz Alam (2-32) removed him, wickets tumbled.
Spinners Nabeel Asghar (1 for 21) and Jamie Marsh (1 for 16) followed on well from the good early work done by the seamers.
When Tahir (25) looked to score some quick runs, Thornton (5-21) was called upon again by captain Bailey to clear up the tail and took just three balls to take the final two wickets to complete a fine all-round game to end the Smethwick innings 79 runs short on 127.
The win for Leamington takes them to third but Old Hill (second) travel to champions Walsall so a defeat for Old Hill and a victory for Leamington would see the Spa Men promoted to the Premier Division.