AMESBURY'S quest for promotion from County Division 4 West will go down to the wire after defeating Burley by 74 runs.

The Archer's Gate outfit travel to Ellingham seconds on Saturday for the season closer, knowing a maximum points victory will secure them second place and automatic promotion to County Division 3.

Burley captain, Alec Moorman won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bowl first in seemingly bowler friendly conditions.

However, Amesbury's openers, Andy Renshaw and Adi Berry began positively, and punished any loose deliveries offered up by Burley's opening bowlers. Renshaw played a number of sumptuous drives and cuts to reach 50, although shortly after reaching his personal milestone, offered a simple opportunity to Brown at backward point off the bowling of Pullen to depart for exactly 50 and leave Amesbury 85/1 in the 15th over.

Amesbury skipper, Jayme Underwood, joined Berry at the crease and, together, continued to keep the scoreboard moving along. Berry, after playing a number of excellent strokes and looking well placed on 45, departed after tickling a faint edge behind to wicketkeeper Gunn off Pullen.

With Amesbury 128/2, the in-form Sumith Surendran entered and immediately found his stride by playing a number of crisp strokes across the ground. In combination with Underwood, they accelerated through the gears to build a commanding first innings total. Underwood duly passed his 50 and Surendran himself looked set to reach the same milestone, when on 49 he was unfortunately bowled by the proverbial pea-shooter off the bowling of Moorman.

With Amesbury 215/3 in the 37th over, Dale Gower joined Underwood and began in ominous fashion, by dismantling Burley's bowlers. With a combination of delicate placement and hard running between the wicket, Gower and Underwood put pressure on Burley's fielders to pass the 250 mark and close Amesbury's innings on 275/3. Underwood finished on 78 not out whilst Gower an equally important 33 not out to leave Amesbury well positioned leading into the second innings.

In reply, Amesbury's opening bowlers Gareth Dobson and Jayden Atkinson got to work and immediately caused problems for Burley's openers, Hudson and Doick. With only seven runs scored in the first four overs, Dobson struck in his third over removing Doick for four after a superb low diving catch by Dale Gower at slip.

The score advanced to 27 when Dobson claimed his second wicket, removing Brown for seven after a sharp catch by wicketkeeper Berry.

Moorman joined Hudson at the crease, and immediately looked to counter in an attempt to bring them back into the game. With Hudson passing his 50, a dangerous third wicket partnership of 85 was eventually ended with Tony Gower trapping Moorman LBW to depart for 44 and leave Burley 112/3 in the 28th over. Moorman Senior entered and, after playing a number of fortunate strokes, departed for 10 after an excellent steeping catch held by Jayden Atkinson off the bowling of his brother - Macauley Atkinson.

With Burley 145/4 in the 34th over, and the contest effectively over, opener Hudson and Gunn were content to dig-in and frustrate Amesbury. Renshaw and Dave Bailey were introduced to no avail and the impressive Hudson reached a deserved 100 in the final over to finish 101 not out, while Gunn 8 not out to result in the Forest visitors closing on 201/4.