NETHERFIELD’S upturn in form continued as Sri Lankan professional Saliya Saman delivered a knockout blow with the bat, as the Parkside Road club made Readers Cup progress at the expense of Lancaster.

New Zealand professional Michael Barry top scored with 76, adding a 161-run partnership with Charlie Swarbrick for Lancaster’s second wicket as the hosts posted 202-5 from 40 overs.

In reply, Saman did the lion’s share of the damage with a stunning innings of 98, with Ben Barrow’s 40 contributing to Netherfield’s seven-wicket win with ten balls to spare.

Lancaster skipper Jamie Heywood struck two boundaries before being bowled by Saman for nine in the third over, with the home side 13-1 – with the wicket uniting Barry and Swarbrick at the crease.

The duo progressed the score to 45-1 after ten overs and maintained a consistent scoring rate as Lancaster reached 97-1 at the halfway stage and three figures in the 21st.

Barry and Swarbrick then notched their 150-partnership in the 25th over before the former holed out to Mark Clarkson in the covers to depart for 76 and give Earl his first victim.

And two balls later, the slow left-armer had another, with Lancaster’s second dangerman Swarbrick back in the pavilion after being trapped in front for 73.

At this stage Lancaster were 174-3 with just over six overs remaining, adding a further 28 runs before the 40-over mark, with Ian Perriman finishing 14 not out.

Saman removed Danny Welbourne for six, caught and bowled, while Nathan Chambers saw Dylan Conroy caught behind by Ben Barrow for the same score with the final ball of the innings.

Saman finished with 2-27 as Earl returned 2-35 from his allocation, and while only bowling four overs Stuart Dixon conceded just 13 runs from an economical spell.

Barry’s productive afternoon continued, taking an early wicket as Netherfield made an indifferent start to their reply, losing opener Ben Phillips in the second over.

Barry trapped the Australian all-rounder in front for nine, with Saman joining Ben Barrow as, similar to the Lancaster innings, Netherfield enjoyed a healthy second-wicket partnership.

The visitors brought their 50 up in the ninth over as Netherfield reached 93-1 at the mid-point of their innings, looking well set for an assault on victory in the second half.

Barrow’s patient knock of 40, accumulated from 92 balls and containing four boundaries, was brought to an end with the first ball of the 28th over, trapped in front by Conroy.

Saman and skipper Marc Brown then shared a stand of 25 before the latter fell to Conroy, caught by Barry, for 21 with Netherfield 149-3 from 31.3 overs.

John Huck played his part with an unbeaten 24 although the star of the show was undeniably Saman, who finished on 98 not out as Netherfield completed their run chase with seven wickets in hand.

The 28-year-old was in irrepressible form, hitting nine fours and clearing the boundary rope four times in his knock, with Barry the pick of the bowlers with 2-26 from five overs.