CRICKET: Defeated Grantham CC do enough to deny rivals Sleaford the league title

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Lincs ECB Premier League

Grantham 172

Sleaford 173-9

Sleaford arrived at Gorse Lane with a slim chance of claiming the title – if Bracebridge failed to pick up their victory and Sleaford defeated Grantham, they would be crowned 2015 champions.

Grantham were looking to make amends for their poor performance against Sleaford earlier in the season and had no intention of handing over the victory.

Rohan Nurse won the toss and elected to bat on a typical Grantham wicket.

Karnajit Bansal was dismissed early on and Josh Mihill failed to get off the mark as Grantham were reduced to 11-2 in the seventh over.

Captain Nurse (58) batted with opener Dan Freeman (24), Dan Webb (37) and David Whapplington (21) but when he was bowled by Nick Goacher (3-27) Grantham’s runs quickly dried up.

Whapplington worked hard but was quickly running out of batting partners as Grantham were dismissed for 172 in the penultimate over.

It looked like Sleaford were going to stroll to the full 20 points and possible title when they were 66 without loss after 18 overs.

Charles Wright made the crucial breakthrough in the 19th over, dismissing Tom Shorthouse (24) lbw.

It was Bansal who continued the assault on the Sleaford middle order, dismissing numbers 2-7 to end with figures of 6-48.

With four overs remaining, Sleaford needed just 17 runs for victory but a well-timed maiden from Freeman put the pressure back on the batsman.

It went right down to the wire when, in the 51st over, (Sleaford having been awarded Grantham’s unused overs) Shaun Morris, who had picked up five wickets in the first innings, clipped the ball off his legs for a single that won Sleaford the game.

After a hard fought contest, Sleaford had to settle for second in the league as Bracebridge claimed the title away to Bourne.

South Lincs & Border League

Premier Division

Grantham 2nd 148

Billingborough 144

Grantham 2nd travelled to Billingborough and, after losing the toss, batted first on a damp, green track.

Conditions, along with tidy bowling and indifferent shot selection, soon had Grantham in trouble at 33-3.

Grantham struggled along, losing wickets at regular intervals with only man-of-the-match Danny Ashley applying himself to post an excellent 72 to give his side a slight chance with a below par 148.

Grantham knew that early wickets were going to be priceless and all-rounder Ashley then went to work with the ball, nipping out the Boro top three to give his side a glimmer of hope.

Wickets fell at regular intervals and Billingborough looked out of the running at 50-8, but skipper Paul Goodwin shepherded the tail to keep the home side in the match.

And, after Garfoott bludgeoned 41, the game looked to be slipping away from Grantham until Ashley (5-43) then picked up the last wicket, leaving the hosts five agonising runs short, thus allowing Grantham to record a long awaited victory away at Billingborough.