Lincolnshire maintained their excellent progress in the Minor Counties Eastern Division when they defeated Cambridgeshire by 113 runs at Gorse Lane over three days. It was the home side’s third victory in four matches, the other being drawn away against Cumberland.
Lincs made three changes from that against Cumberland. Sam Kelsall, returned after injury, replacing Ross Carnelley, and Anish Patel and Matt Carter replaced Martin Weightman and Adam Shepherd.
Cambs won the toss and in windy conditions put Lincs in to bat. The opening pair of Kelsall and Patel put on 50 for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed for 29. Freeman, Bansal and Kelsall then fell for the addition of only six runs to leave Lincs on 56-4. Conrad Louth and Carl Wilson retrieved the situation somewhat, adding a further 33 and Louth and Luke Robinson added 53 for the sixth wicket. Louth was dismissed for 35 and only Robinson with 61 made any significant addition to the total. Lincs were finally dismissed in 61 overs for 194.
Cambs lost an early wicket to David Lucas and thereafter Matt Carter steadily worked his way through the Cambs batting. There was no stand higher than 39 for the visitors and only Ben Howgego with 40 made any substantial score. At the end of day one, the visitors were 140-8 and their innings closed quickly on day two for 152, Matt Carter taking 7 for 49 in 17 overs.
With a first innings lead of 42, Lincs needed to press home this advantage and began their second innings in fine style. Kelsall and Bansal put on 97 for the first wicket before the latter was dismissed for a fine 54. Wickets continued to fall but Kelsall stood firm. He found a good partner in Carl Wilson who made 45 and together they put the total past 200.Eventually Kelsall fell for an excellent 97 as Lincs were dismissed for 288, an overall lead of 330. Cambs captain Paul McMahon took 8-96 and was the only bowler to cause Lincs problems.
Cambs required 331 for victory with 14 overs remaining in day two and all of day three available to them. Again, David Lucas took an early wicket and the visitors closed day two on 59 -2. The dangerous Ben Howgego was still batting, however, and his early dismissal on day three was crucial to Lincs’s chances of victory.
The breakthrough was made straight away on day three as David Lucas dismissed Howgego without addition to his overnight score. Cambs slumped to 84-5 and a win for them looked unlikely. McMahon and Bryant then defied all that the Lincs bowlers could do and batted until lunch. The unlikely was looking possible until Alex Willerton removed Bryant for 47. The Cleethorpes duo of Willerton and Alex Osmond then worked their way through the Cambs batting and, whilst McMahon stood firm, the visitors were finally dismissed in mid-afternoon for 217. McMahon was undefeated on 70 whilst Willerton (4-60) and Osmond (3-16) took the bowling honours.
The victory pushed Lincolnshire into second place behind Cumberland. Their next Championship match is against Buckinghamshire at Tring starting on Sunday, August 2.