LOOKING to build on their resounding victory against Boston the previous weekend, Sleaford first eleven travelled to Skegness on Saturday to take on the Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League leaders.
Sleaford won the toss and elected to bowl first on a blustery day that was really going to test the strength and endurance of the bowlers.
The visitors failed to capitalise on some accurate pace bowling from Sears and Burrows, with chances squandered as opener Houghton was dropped twice in the opening few overs.
Although Sleaford continued to bowl well, aggressive batting by Houghton ensured that runs flowed and he had good support at the other end from Pringle.
Skegness moved on to 135 for 1 before wickets started to tumble; Houghton finally falling for a well-made 88.
The Sleaford attack continued to apply pressure and Skegness were dismissed for 197, with Sears ripping through the Skegness tail to finish with excellent figures of 5 for 55.
But it was the combined effort of all the Sleaford bowlers that had resulted in restricting the Skegness total.
The visitors now knew they had the chance to gain a victory over the league leaders if they could put on a good batting display.
However, the home side’s opening bowling pair, overseas professionals Gordon and Pringle, soon had the top order in trouble, with Sleaford struggling on 22 for 3.
There was a brief recovery but when Sleaford lost top order batsman Shorthouse, this triggered the loss of a large cluster of wickets largely thanks to some great bowling from Pringle.
At 71 for 7 Sleaford looked in real trouble but, through some excellent stroke play from captain Burford, they did offer some resistance.
Burford’s was the last wicket to fall, for a solid innings of 52, as Sleaford’s innings ended on 143 all out, 54 runs adrift of the Skegness total. The pick of the home bowlers was Pringle, who finished with figures of 5 for 44.
n This Saturday, Sleaford are at home to Bourne.