Ann Boulton rounds up this week’s Lincs ECB Premier action...
On a good day for batting that brought three centuries, Obus Pienaar hit an unbeaten 122 to break the Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League runs record, set by his predecessor at Sleaford, Tim McIntosh.
With three matches to go, the South African now has 1,394 runs for the season, with nine centuries.
Bracebridge Heath have a 22 point lead at the top, while below them Grantham head a chasing pack of four separated by just 15 points.
The top two played the bottom two and both took a gamble by declaring, only to see their opponents put up spirited performances to hang on to their wickets and earn a draw.
Bracebridge hosted Grimsby, declaring after 47 overs on 282 for five, Kit Spence unbeaten on 78 and Carl Stubbs hitting 51.
Brett Houston dismissed both Grimsby openers for 37 runs but Steve Crossley and Jack Wilson added 82.
When Crossley was out, Grimsby lost their next four wickets for 17 runs to make it 138 for seven but Hayden Tice and brother Harrison steadied the ship with a partnership of 41 and Hayden was unbeaten on 34 as the innings closed on 187 for eight, earning the visitors a valuable six points.
Nettleham fared even better at Grantham who declared after 42 overs on 253 for three.
Ross Carnelley scored his maiden century for the club in the ECB Premier League, carrying his bat with 115 while Dan Freeman made a welcome return to the batting line-up after injury to hit 55, this partnership putting on 127 for the third wicket.
Nettleham’s first wicket fell on 15 and the second on 60 but the visiting batsmen took advantage of a good batting track to score at a steady rate, Rhett Bridgens hitting 60.
From 170 for five, Jack Curtis and Connor Hawkins joined forces to bat out their 58 overs and take their side to 225 for five at the close.
This gave Nettleham nine points, closing the gap on Grimsby and both sides now have 10th placed Skegness in their sights after the seasiders suffered a heavy defeat at Bourne.
Jack Berry was once again the pick of the bowling, taking six for 45 as Skegness collapsed from 63 for one to 95 all out. Bourne lost two early wickets but an unbeaten 40 from Carl Wilson saw the home side to a six wicket win.
The closest game of the day was at Boston where Woodhall Spa’s innings closed on 223 for nine, Jack Timby making 60 and Jack Luffman 52.
Boston’s first wicket fell on eight but this brought Jonny Cheer to the crease and the chase was on as Cheer shared a third wicket stand of 81 with Liam Sparke.
Ross Dixon’s two dismissals made it 149 for five but this was to be Woodhall’s last success as Cheer and Tom Baxter pushed the total ever closer.
Going into the penultimate over, 22 were needed for victory but the batsman could make only six and eight more runs off the final over left the home side just eight short, Cheer with an unbeaten 113.
Pienaar’s century helped Sleaford to 247 for six at the close and Lindum suffered an early blow, losing two wickets for just 23 runs.
From here, Dwight Thomas brought some stability to the innings and when the West Indian was out for 89, the total had reached 170 for six.
Three more wickets fell but Lindum’s final pair dug in to take the final score to 208 for nine.
Keaton Critchell almost joined the century makers with 94 at Louth whose innings closed on 226 for nine at home to Market Deeping.
Tom Corden, who had earlier hit an unbeaten 31, then took five Deeping wickets as the visitors finished on 191 for nine, Patrick Harrington hitting 49.
Results: Skegness 95 (Berry 6-45), Bourne 99-4; Woodhall Spa 223-9 (J. Timby 60, Luffman 52), Boston 216-5 (Cheer 113no); Grantham 253-3 dec (42 overs) (Freeman 55, Carnelley 115no), Nettleham 225-5 (Bridgens 60); Sleaford 247-6 (Pienaar 122no), Lindum 208-9 (Thomas 89); Louth 226-9 (Critchell 94), Market Deeping 191-9 (Corden 5-76); Bracebridge Heath 282-5 dec (47 overs) (Spence 78no, Stubbs 51), Grimsby Town 187-8 (Crossley 68).