LECHLADE’S lead at the top of the WEPL Glos/Wilts Division was cut to 11 points on Saturday, as the Manor Ground side lost by four runs to Biddestone.

Poor fielding from Lechlade and a top-draw innings of 99 from Biddestone captain Dwaine Perry lead the hosts to 238-4 from their 50 overs batting first, and the table-topping visitors couldn’t chase their target down, falling to 234 all out.

In Biddestone’s innings, Perry was supported first by Jamie Mitchell (41) and then Andy Flynn (52) to take the score from 36-2 to 228-4 after the opening success of Luke Sellers and Michael Craigs. Perry fell one short of his century as he looked unselfishly for quick runs at the end of the Biddestone innings when he was bowled by Craigs in the penultimate over. His knock had lasted for 115 balls and included 14 fours.

Perry was dropped four times and Lechlade’s below-par fielding performance would prove to be costly, as would the 32 extras conceded.

Lechlade, in reply, got off to a bad start with the loss of Freddie Martin in the second over for two. The Lechlade batsmen were never allowed to settle, as Joe Breet (40), Brad Dial (33) and Arran Dickinson (21) all got starts without being able top build on them. At 167-8, it seemed Lechalde would fall a long way short.

However, Ryan Higgins provided some late drama, sharing in a partnership of 54 for the ninth wicket with Craigs and belting 51 from 57 balls.

The Zimbabwean reduced the required amount to 18 from 13 deliveries and then five off the final over before he was dislodged by Perry, caught in the deep by Neil Bredenkamp.

A disappointed Lechlade captain, Joe Breet, said after the game: “It was a disappointing result for us today but it was a below par performance from us all round and I think Biddestone on reflection deserved the win.

“We again allowed Dwaine (Perry) to dominate us again with the bat despite the opportunities we had to dismiss him early on and then with the ball in the second innings.”

Perry finished with 5-26 with the ball to add to his 99 with the bat to frustrate Lechlade for the second season running.