COOKHAM Dean missed out on the chance to edge closer to the Division One title after a narrow five-run defeat at Gerrards Cross on Saturday.

The Dean won the toss and invited Gerrards Cross to bat first at Ricketts Field, the visitors making 180 runs all out off 50 overs.

Opening batsman James Hammerton top-scored with 84 runs and put on 71 for the first wicket with Malkeet Dhaliwal (32).

Feroz Baig (19) and Jonathan Denning (12*) were the only other batsman to reach double figures as Sahan Nanayakkare ripped through the line-up for a sixth five-wicket-haul of the summer.

The overseas star recorded figures of 5-8 from 10 overs, which included five maidens plus Daniel Hampton, Billy Hunt and Jasraj Grewal for a duck.

The other wickets fell to Patrick Castleden (2-37) and Simon Foster (2-52).

Cookham managed 175 runs all out off 43.2 overs in response and for just their fourth defeat from 15 league matches this season.

Number seven Yasir Qureshi top-scored with 43 runs, while Wasim Ahmed made 22 and opener Castledon 18.

Denning was the best of the five Gerrards Cross bowlers used with figures of 4-38 from 10 overs, including the wicket of Nadir Mehmood for a duck.

He was backed up by Richard Knudsen (2-20) and Ross Fyfe (2-22).

With second-placed Cove losing at Falkland, the league leaders are now 26 points clear at the top with just three matches still to play this season.

Cookham can put one hand on the league trophy with a win away at Falkland this Saturday (12.30pm), while Cove have a tough match a fourth-placed Stoke Green.

The Dean then travel to Reading on Saturday 25th August.

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