Barnack need a maximum of 10 points from their final two matches to clinch the Rutland Division One title after a day of defeats for the top three in the table (September 9).
Barnack were well-beaten by a talented young Peterborough Town side, but title rivals Bourne and Ketton Sports were also defeated by Grantham and Oundle respectively.
Bourne, who lost by 72 runs at Grantham, remain top, but have completed their fixtures. Barnack are eight points behind and there is a further 11 points to Ketton who have one game left.
Barnack are at Oundle on Sunday, but also have rock bottom Weldon to play.
Stand-in skipper Alex Mitchell cracked 80 in Town’s 236 all out against Barnack at Bretton Gate before teenagers Karanpal Singh (4-36) and Mohammed Tayyib (3-16) took over with the ball. Singh, who is just 15, passed 50 wickets for the season during the game and included the prize scalp of Peterborough Town’s Saturday pro Asim Butt among his victims. Barnack were eventually dismissed for 148.
Grantham piled up 311 against Bourne despite an impressive 4-29 from Amelia Gardner who picked up the big wicket of Lincs Minor Counties star Daniel Freeman for a rapid 99.
Sam Evison (76) and Ben Keast (57) both scored well in Bourne’s 236.
Oundle fielded 10 men and still saw off Ketton at Pit Lane thanks mainly to an outstanding all-round effort from Harrison Craig (45no & 5-34).
Wisbech Town’s reign as champions is almost over. They beat King’s Keys by five wickets after dismissing them for just 82. Kieran Haynes bagged 4-34.
Market Deeping will be back in the top flight next season. They responded to relegation by winning all 17 of their completed Division Two matches this summer, the last of which was a 91-run win at Ufford Park which included 83 from Connor Gillett and 6-40 from Sachithra Perera who passed 100 wickets in his debut season for the club.
Sunday, September 9
GRANTHAM beat BOURNE by 72 runs
Grantham 311 (D. Freeman 99, J. Fell 60, A. Gardner 4-29, B. Keast 2-11, D. Bandaranaike 2-79).
Bourne 239 (S. Evison 76, B. Keast 56, T. Dixon 37).
KETTON SPORTS lost to OUNDLE by 34 runs
Oundle 178 (J. Bolsover 48, H. Craig 45no, T. Aziz 3-27, P. Rowe 2-34, Z. Manzoor 2-43).
Ketton Sports 144 (T. Aziz 41, P. Rowe 32, H. Craig 5-34, L. North-Row 3-28, J. Charlton 2-11).
PETERBOROUGH TOWN beat BARNACK by 88 runs
Town 236 (A. Mitchell 80. S. Hayat 33, D. Malik 31, M. Saif 24, K. Ikhlaq 3-37, A. Majeed 2-41, M. Shahid 2-55).
Barnack 148 (K. Ikhlaq 37, A. Butt 20, K. Singh 4-36, M. Tayyib 3-16, C. Parnell 2-37).
WISBECH beat KING’S KEYS by 5 wkts
King’s Keys 82 (K. Haynes 4-34, G. Freear 3-17).
Wisbech 83-5 (J. Bowers 23, D. Haynes 21, R. Howell 20no, S. Ali 2-14, S. Khan 2-24).