ARMIDALE City went top of the Armidale first grade cricket competition with a two wicket win over Easts as Ex-Services moved outright third when they snared a two wicket win over defending premiers Hillgrove .
After dismissing Hillgrove for 127, Ex-Services responded with 8-128.
Jarred Graham was the star, claming seven wickets for Servies and bowling stump to stump.
His brother, Cody, then struck with the bat, hammering loose deliveries in his half century as Services snuck home on what had been a wet and under-prepared deck.
Scott Brennan was best for Hillgrove, topscoring and then bowling tightly.
At New England Mutual Armidale Sportsground, Easts started well enough but, when Andrew Skinner struck to have them 1-32, the Easts batting faltered.
Shane Collins (30) topscored at number eight for Easts after opener Dean Moore had made 23.
Skinner finished with 3-35 from his 10 but it was the spinners, Andrew Brownlie and Steve Butler, who put the brakes on.
They entered the fray after around about a dozen overs and bowled in tandem for 12 overs apiece.
Brownlie snared 1-26 from his 12 and Butler claimed 3-7 from his 12 overs, eight of which were maidens.
Rumann Hassan (1-21) and Adam Sweeney (1-22) also had success.
Bundled out for 113, Easts fought back and had City 3-25 early on before Butler and Brownlie again forged a partnership, this time with the bat.
Brownlie’s 43 and Butler’s 15 elevated the side again before it fell to 6-81 with Butler’s dismissal.
Karl Tirebe then became an accidental hero.
Unable to bowl due to a shoulder injury, he remained unbeaten on 24 and, with Rod Watson (10no), put together a match-winning eighth wicket partnership to ease City home and help it go top of the first grade table with three rounds remaining.
Sam Uphill (3-42) and Henry Cupitt (3-44) were best of the Easts bowlers while Ben Welch and Josh Taylor picked up up a wicket each.
In this week’s games Ex-Services play City (Harris Park) and Easts match up against Hillgrove (Sportsground).