Falmouth 173, Helston 169

THIS was a gripping Premier League derby at the Hine Downing Oval which had more twists and turns than a Cornish back road.

Helston would have been confident of chasing down the home side’s total at the halfway point after some stunning fielding and accurate bowling restricted Falmouth to a mediocre total.

After skipper Sean Hooper had been removed by evergreen Steve Eddy for a golden duck at the top of the innings, the tall swing bowler threatened to run riot when he dismissed Callum Whittaker and then clean bowled Dan Davis with his very next ball.

It was a sad way to bow out for Davis, who was playing his final game before returning to live in Bristol.

Falmouth began to rebuild through Stefan Churcher, who hit an eye-catching 28 – including a particularly memorable straight drive all along the carpet – before being brilliantly run out by young wicketkeeper Karl Leathley.

Churcher nudged one into the leg side and set off for a single, but in the blink of an eye Leathley dashed ten yards to his left, spun and threw down the stumps as Churcher, attempting to return to his ground, slipped over on the wicket.

Falmouth’s innings was finely poised at 86 for four, but Guy Leathley batted responsibly to guide his side into calmer waters.

The early stages of his 74 comprised several well-judged singles and he found a willing partner in Jordan Thomas, putting on 64 for the seventh wicket before Leathley was bowled by seamer Gavin Tregenza.

Spin twins Steve Jenkin and Lionel Vaaltyn bowled beautifully in tandem, both yielding just 21 runs each from their 10 overs.

Vaaltyn also took a brilliant catch low to his right after Jamie Stephens had hammered Jenkin to square leg.

Helston needed a steady start, but they didn’t get it, with skipper Dan Jenkin, Mark Jenkin and Ross Leathley all departing with just 26 on the board.

It set up an engaging run chase, with Tregenza and Chris Martin putting on 54 before Guy Leathley removed Tregenza for 29, caught by Davis.

Leathley then removed Steve Jenkin cheaply, but Vaaltyn, batting at 7, looked set to guide the visitors to victory until Martin was trapped in front by Liam Hoban for 57.

Helston needed 47 runs with four wickets remaining but Hoban took charge, clean bowling Ben Rule then claiming his second leg before victim in number ten Thomas Retallack, with the visitors still requiring 13 for victory.

With Vaaltyn still at the crease the game could have gone either way, but Sohail Tariq, in only his second over, had the South African caught for 38 by Jamie Stevens in the deep, to set up a dramatic victory for Hooper’s men.

For full scorecard see Wednesday's edition of the Packet.