EASINGWOLD's dramatic last-gasp victory over Beverley earned them maximum points to increase their lead at the top of the Hunters the Estate York and District Senior Cricket League premier division.

While they collected 30 points, champions Dunnington were having to hang on for a draw at Clifton Alliance, enabling Easingwold to open up a 43 point gap at the top after eight games.

Tom Piercy led an array of five successful Easingwold batsmen when he made 53. Dan Copeland added 46 while Martin Piercy 29, Jonathon Marwood 47 and Paul Skilbeck 31 added useful scores as the leaders reached 256-8 despite the efforts of Ian Gillian 3-64 and J Bayes 3-85. Tim Fordon led Beverley's reply with 48 while Oliver Grantham 30 and G Taylor 29 added support, Gavin Rees had 4-38 but Beverley appeared to be heading for a draw when they started the penultimate over with two wickets still standing.

However they lost their ninth wicket in the 49th over and then their last wicket fell with just four balls remaining, giving Easingwold a 64-run win.

At Clifton Alliance, home batsman Richard Musgrave maintained his impressive form when he made 92 against Dunnington.

Ajaz Akhtar, with 5-74, and Dave Greenlay 4-43 were well supported by keeper Paul Miles who claimed four victims to help dismiss the hosts for 180. Miles and Greenlay then shone with the bat with the glove-man making 45 and Greenlay 42 but Francis Hawthorne caused problems in taking 3-38 and Dunnington had an uncomfortable extra over to negotiate before gaining a draw at 168-9.

Runs flowed alongside the river at Sheriff Hutton Bridge where 525 runs were scored for the loss of just six wickets as the home side triumphed over Woodhouse Grange.

Nick Hadfield was Grange's ton-up man for the second week in succession when he made an unbeaten 111 while Jon Bean made 42 and Kamran Sajid 87 in a huge total of 262-2.

The home batsmen then picked up the gauntlet with skipper Paul Oldfield pointing the way with 120. Steve Crowder weighed in with 73 and Paul Scaling 34 as the Bridge earned a six-wicket win.

York moved into the top half of the table when they had a comfortable victory over bottom placed Heworth. Andy Kay made 82 and John McGrady 34 as York totalled 182-8. Darius Slabbert was the best bowler with 3-33 while Mark Bell had 3-80.

Slabbert then made 35 but only Guy Wilkinson 31 supported as Julian Ramsey took 4-34 to help sew up the innings at 138.

Half centuries by Mark Shepherd 57 and Craig Aconley 61 enabled Pickering to make 187 all out despite the efforts of Barry Petty who took 5-54.

Thirsk youngster Dean Bramley then rediscovered his illusive form to hit 69 but Shepherd 3-60 and Charlie Marwood 3-40 denied Thirsk victory as they closed on 160-7.

Sessay moved off the foot of the division when they earned a good advantage draw over Acomb whose skipper Dave Sykes took 5-59. His efforts were countered by Matt Till 79, John Flintoff 41 and Tom Kay 27 who combined to take Sessay to 187-9.

Aussie Mick Polson then bettered Sykes' figures when he took 5-42 and this restricted Acomb to 166-6 with Chris Simpson 41 and Scott Nicholls 30 providing the backbone of the innings.

Updated: 11:14 Monday, June 14, 2004