Division 4a Hayes 266-6 (25pts) beat OMT 174 (6pts) by 92 runs
HAYES stormed to the top of the table on Saturday courtesy of a nail-biting victory at home to the previous joint leaders OMT.
The hosts snagged the final wicket with just nine balls remaining for a win made even more noteworthy given that they suffered a number of injuries while fielding, which not only reduced them to 10 players but also restricted their bowling and fielding capacities.
However, with numerous solid contributions with the bat led by Steve Forey and a similarly impressive team effort with the ball, Hayes toppled OMT and went five points clear at the top after Windsor II claimed only five points from a draw with Slough III.
Put into bat on a wicket which offered assistance to the bowlers, particularly the spinners, openers Simon Green and Forey had to graft for their runs but still managed an opening stand of 85 before Green fell for 26.
Micky Green (37) upped the tempo with Forey (62) but once they both departed Hayes stood at a crossroads 147 for four.
Keith Wallis (22) and Rex Kumar (37) chose the right path as they formed a valuable partnership of 66 to allow Umer Farooq (29 not out) and Mo Arshad (22 not out) to push for a declaration, which they relished.
The final total of 266 for six declared looked like it would take some getting and so it proved, especially once Kumar struck with just four on the board.
That was before the first of the injuries as Farooq badly twisted a knee and had to leave the field, soon after Kumar followed him after aggravating an ankle injury, Forey's knee went too, Ram Ramnath was hit on the head while keeping wicket and Arshad twisted a knee, leaving the whole of the second innings looking more like an episode of Casualty.
Yet those that did remain fit reduced the visitors to 49 for four - Micky Green, Claudius Wayland and Sean Morgan (2-7) chipping in with a wicket apiece - and when that became 76 for six the hosts scented victory. A stubborn seventh-wicket stand pushed the score up to 135 until it was ended by an athletic piece of fielding and a direct hit run out by veteran Wallis.
Still Hayes had work to do as the overs ebbed away but the bowlers summoned up one last effort and after Green (3-56) and Wayland (2-36) collected another wicket each to leave OMT nine down with four overs remaining, Green trapped Riches in front with nine balls to go to spark the celebrations. [25a0] The second XI had its run of victories halted at second from bottom North Maidenhead.
The hosts were set for a big total at 143 for one until an amazing spell of leg spin from Max Jason (6-0-38-7) destroyed their batting although they still posted 200 all out.
Hayes managed to spill 10 catches during that time and they came back to haunt them because they could only respond with 174 for nine with captain Keith Jones (51) once again the mainstay.