CRICKET: Rain denies Grantham firsts chance of outright victory

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Lincolnshire EBC Premier League

Grantham 1st XI 89-3

Bracebridge Heath 1st XI 148

(match abandoned)

A top-notch performance was brought to a premature end this week as the rain spoiled Grantham’s chances of claiming the full 20 points.

In cloudy conditions, Dan Freeman won the toss and elected to field first. Joe Peck (5-56) and Neel Stevenson bowled with good control during the opening overs to pile the pressure on the Bracebridge batsmen.

Stevenson bowled very tidily, going for just eight in his opening spell of five overs, and Peck made early inroads thanks to the mounting pressure.

Wickets fell without the scorers being tested until Paul Cook made his way to the crease. Batting the only way he knows how, Cook made the only significant contribution to the innings, scoring 99 from 86 balls. With no-one to help him at the other end, he could only take the score to 148 before he too was given his marching orders.

Danny Ashley (2-33) took his first wickets for the 1st XI this week and accompanied Dan Freeman (3-35) in dismissing the visitors.

Despite losing three wickets, Grantham were on their way to an almost certain victory when the rain fell for the second time in the day. Unfortunately, there was no hope of any further play that day (or indeed that weekend) and the home side were forced to settle for 10 points with Bracebridge claiming seven.

James Dobson (28) and Dan Freeman (24no) batted well but were bested by the weather in the end.

As they move into the second half of the season, Grantham currently sit joint fourth but are only 15 points adrift from league leaders Sleaford.

South Lincs & Border League

Premier Division

Woodhall Spa 2nd XI 306-7

Grantham 2nd XI 195-6

Grantham second team travelled to Woodhall Spa hoping to improve on their recent performances.

On losing the toss, Grantham were asked to bowl on what proved to be an excellent batting wicket.

Joe Farmer took the wicket of A. Barker in the first over with the score still on 0 and took the second wicket of A. Scoley (20) with the score on 48. Charles Wright then removed the dangerous M. Sargeant (46) with the score on 89-3.

At this point the game was finely balanced, however, T. Dixon mixed good fortune with good hitting to punish the Grantham bowlers before departing for a game-changing 162, ably supported by S. Cherry to give Woodhall Spa an imposing total.

The Grantham openers set about chasing the score down and were ahead of the rate until Martin Parmley was dismissed for 48 with the score on 78. Fellow opener Stewart Mudie continued to put the Woodhall bowlers under pressure, before being removed for a well-made 43 with the score on 103-2.

Unfortunately, none of the Grantham middle order could support Charles Wright (45no) as wickets fell in a cluster to leave them on 136-5.

Gaz Bennett (25) then joined Charles Wright and the pair frustrated the Spa players as some heavy rain loomed in the distance but unfortunately the rain came 10 minutes too late as Grantham made 195-6 from their 45 overs.

Rutland League

John Wilcox Cup

Quarter-final

Hampton 1st XI 126

Grantham Sunday 1st XI 131-0

Having progressed in the competition without playing, Hampton CC were an unknown quantity to Grantham so when the home side decided to bat first Grantham weren’t sure what to expect.

It couldn’t have started better for the visitors when the first ball, a rank “loosener” sent down by strike bowler Joe Peck, was spooned straight to the point fielder.

That set the tone for the Hampton innings, which included two suicidal run outs, and they limped to a total of 126. Andy McIntyre batted well for his 43 runs but it was to prove well short of par in the second innings.

Grantham’s openers, the now prolific James Dobson (85no) and Ross Carnelly (36no), made short work of the total as Hampton’s bowlers struggled to mount any pressure.

Exactly 15 overs after the innings started, Dobson struck his sixth six to wrap up the game for Grantham, having faced just 52 balls.

Grantham now progress to the semi-finals where they will face either Burghley Park or Barnack.

l Grantham’s other Saturday and Sunday sides had their games cancelled or abandoned due to rain.