A DEVASTATING and hostile spell of fast-medium bowling by Oswestry’s overseas professional Larry Samarakoon kept the Bordermen firmly among the front-runners in the Birmingham Premier League Second Division at the Stonehouse Oval on Saturday.

His seven-wicket haul helped to skittle the West Worcestershire side for just 79 as Oswestry romped home to victory by 106 runs.

The popular Sri Lankan, who took time to adjust to English conditions following his arrival from Columbo in early May, has been in a rich vein of form over the last six weeks.

This was his third successive ‘five-fer’ and he is now, comfortably, Oswestry’s leading Birmingham League wicket-taker.

Samarakoon also made a useful contribution with the bat after Oswestry had slipped from 104-2 to 119-7, following the departure of Warrick Fynn (31) and Joe Carrasco (16).

Xavier Clarke, who was well-supported by Josh Darley, again impressed, but on reaching an accomplished half-century, momentarily lost his concentration and was stumped, running down the wicket to spinner Taylor Pugh.

Samarakoon (27), skipper Dean Suter and Ben Roberts all added useful runs at the end as the home side clambered up to 185 before being bowled out in the final over of the innings.

Pugh picked up five wickets for the visitors while skipper Ryan Tongue chipped in with three.

The Oswestry total always looked to be under par until Roman Walker (2-17) made the crucial early breakthrough, dismissing in quick succession Harvey Smedley and Tongue.

Roberts then had Will Dovey caught at slip, before the deadly Samarakoon struck, clean bowling five of his victims.

This was the eighth win of the season for Dean Suter’s men who move up to fourth position in the table, just one victory behind leaders Ombersley.

It was sweet revenge for their unhappy defeat at Great Malvern earlier in the season.

Meanwhile Oswestry seconds extended their lead at the top of Shropshire League Division Three with a convincing win over Newport seconds.

Batting first, Oswestry totalled 239-5 with shipper Alex Davidson hitting a fine 82.

Jonny Davies (43), Mattie Richards (38) and Steve Humphries (28 not out) all gave good support .

Newport were always up against it, after losing Scott Gornley (28) and Sam Davies (24), being finally dismissed in the 34th over for 121.

Opening bowlers Alex Selby and James Denham shared two wickets apiece with leg spinner Floyd Owen again stealing the bowling honours with a return of 3-16 .

Following last season’s re-structuring of the Birmingham League, the Morda Road side are well on course to gain promotion to the second division of the county league at the first attempt, with the club keeping an eye on the future for players.