Sleaford fightback not enough

AFTER having their away fixture at Market Deeping the previous week cancelled due to rain, Sleaford Cricket Club first team were hoping to take full advantage of the warm weekend weather to record a good result at home to a strong Woodhall team in the ECB Lincolnshire Premier League. However, the visitors had other ideas.

Having won the toss, Woodhall elected to bat first. They recovered from an early first over blow and accumulated runs quickly through the attacking and confident play of Lovelace and O’Brien.

They gave a couple of half chances, which were not taken by Sleaford, and capitalised on their fortune with some excellent stroke play.

With the loss of O’Brien for a swift 58, Lovelace seized control of the innings, as the Sleaford bowlers the hot conditions testing.

On a pitch that offered very little for either seamers or spinners, Woodhall continued to play positively and score freely.

Lovelace went on to make a well deserved century before being dismissed by Steve Bradford for 106.

Sleaford took late wickets to keep Woodhall’s total down to below 250. The visitors’ innings closed at 248 for 8 from their allotted 50 overs, with spinners Bradford and Tom Shorthouse each claiming three wickets.

On a flat pitch and in favourable batting conditions Sleaford were looking to make early inroads into Woodhall’s total. However, the loss of early wickets severely hindered any chance they had of winning the game.

Sleaford mounted something of a fightback through Burgess (20) and Brewster (29) but wickets continued to fall frequently.

None of the home batsmen was able to occupy the crease long enough to compile a substantial innings.

A combination of good, accurate bowling and poor shot selection saw Sleaford succumb to a very modest all out total of 124, just half the total achieved by Woodhall.

Milgate finished with figures of 3-33 and there were two wickets apiece for O’Brien, Parsons and Sargeant.

Sleaford will be hoping for a much improved performance when they take on defending champions Bracebridge Heath on Saturday.

Woodhall Spa 248-8 (Lovelace 106, O’Brien 58); Sleaford 124

ON Sunday, Sleaford firsts recorded another win in the Lincoln League Division One, this time beating Blankney by seven wickets.

Blankney were restricted to 109 for eight in their allotted 40 overs, with Sleaford changing the bowling frequently, giving eight players a chance with the ball.

Bryan Smith was the pick of the Sleaford attack, claiming three wickets for 16 runs off 10 over.

The response was dominated by opener Tom Shorthouse , who carried his bat for an undefeated 76 as Sleaford knocked off the required runs in just 18.1 overs for the loss of three wickets.

Blankey 109-8 (Schwandt 32; Smith 3-16; Lambert 2-20); Sleaford 113-3 (Shorthouse 76 not out; Yuill 2-19).

l For more cricket reports turn to page 63.