FOLLOWING a disappointing result the previous week against Bracebridge Heath, Sleaford Cricket Club first eleven bounced back with a strong performance at Lindum on Saturday in their latest Readers ECB Lincolnshire Premier League fixture.
On a pitch that was never going to favour the batsman, Lindum won the toss and elected to bowl first, putting Sleaford in to have first use of a very damp wicket.
The Lindum bowlers ripped through Sleaford’s top order batsman with all of the first five falling relatively cheaply, Ben Powell claiming four of these early wickets.
Sleaford looked to be in deep trouble at a very modest 49-5 but club captain Oliver Burford stepped in at a crucial time to lead his team from the front
Thanks to some wonderful stroke play, Burford began to pile on the runs. The fall of the sixth wicket brought Alex Sears to the crease and he provided great support for Burford and the pair built an extremely valuable partnership to enable Sleaford to post a much bigger total than had seemed likely.
Sears, with some hefty blows, passed the 50 mark in almost as many balls.
But it was Burford who was the star of the show, stroking his way to a brilliant and hugely important century.
On reaching his 100, Burford made tribute to the club’s long serving veteran all rounder Steve Bradford, who is currently unwell.
Burford went on to make 115 off just 109 balls. The Sleaford innings closed at 260 for 8, a remarkable turnaround after such an inauspicious start.
With the conditions remaining relatively unchanged, Sleaford’s bowlers looked to claim early wickets.
Opening the attack, Sears and Sam Burrows were quickly into their rhythm and with the score on 32 Burrows dismissed both opening batsmen in the same over.
Tom Shorthouse also claimed two wickets but it was Sears who was to be Lindum’s undoing. He finished with excellent figures of 6 for 52, as Lindum were bowled out for just 118 inside 30 overs.
The bowlers were aided by an excellent display in the field, with Sleaford holding on to every chance that came their way, the highlight being a stunning one handed diving catch by Matt Mountain.