CRICKET: Victory moves Grantham out of relegation zone

Josh Mihill in action for Grantham on Saturday. Photo: Nigel West
Josh Mihill in action for Grantham on Saturday. Photo: Nigel West

Lincs ECB Premier League

Grantham 166

Skegness 145

In the first of the return fixtures, Grantham hosted Skegness at Gorse Lane.

In the first meeting between these two teams, Grantham managed a winning draw, failing to take the final wicket and secure the victory.

Following the storm on Friday night, there was a leak under the covers and the start of the match was delayed by half an hour to give the pitch time to dry. But when the coin came down in Skegness captain, Norman Brackley’s favour, he had no hesitation in asking the home side to bat on a tricky and inconsistent wicket.

Karanjit Bansal was the first to fall on his first delivery when the ball deviated and took the outside edge. Fellow opener Dan Webb (25) worked hard at the top of the innings but, as the wicket deteriorated, batting became quite an ordeal.

Skegness’s seam attack tore through the Grantham batsman as they struggled to counteract the misbehaving pitch. Attack was the best form of defence it seemed as David Whapplington (22) and Joe Peck (27no) took the Grantham total to a respectable 166.

Pick of the bowlers were Norman Brackley and Brendan Young, both finishing with figures of 3-29.

It became clear that, after time to dry and the heavy roller during the tea interval, the wicket had settled down and was no longer offering the spitting, inconsistent bounce that the Grantham batters faced. That is not to say it was easy going for the visitors and the openers worked hard for every run.

It was a misjudgement that gifted Grantham the first breakthrough as Rohan Nurse ran out opener Daniel Nuttall (11).

Pradeep Chanditha (16) fell soon after to Karanjit Bansal (3-41) but a solid partnership of 54 took Skegness beyond the halfway point in their run chase for the loss of just two wickets.

As the runs ticked by, Grantham seemed to be losing grasp of the game until Joe Peck (3-36) started the fourth of his five spells for the day with a double wicket maiden, including a superb catch from Bansal at backward point.

With the score diminished to 32 required with four wickets remaining, the game had swung back in favour of the visitors. But three wickets in as many overs from Bansal and Simon Oakes (2-24) put the game in the balance.

The final wicket fell in the 49th over when Bansal took another stunning catch at point to the bowling of Peck.

With the victory and the 17 points that go with it, Grantham moved out of the relegation zone play Grimsby who are only five points above them in the league.