Several batsmen were left to reflect on their shot selection as Sleaford CC First XI slipped to a surprise Lincs ECB Premier defeat to Market Deeping.
Sleaford were bowled out for 196 with overs to spare, as Deeping wrapped up a 25-run win, leaving the hosts needing a result at Bourne in Saturday’s final match to confirm third place.
The eight points did confirm their place in the new end-of-season play-offs, but they could yet finish fourth after Woodhall Spa closed to within 10 points.
The Firsts, sponsored by Baker Plant Hire, won the toss and put Deeping in to bat, and they made early inroad when Scott Tite ran out Connor Gillett for one.
Josh Smith and Dave Gillett established the innings, but with the score on 35, Smith (23) was lbw to Youles.
Jamie Morgan joined Gillett and they played with care and appropriate aggression to take the score to 84 when Gillett was bowled by Tite for 20.
Ross Barnes and Morgan played with confidence, with Morgan reaching a very good 50.
Soon after he was caught by Tom Shorthouse for 55, and when Barnes (18) fell lbw to Shorthouse, and James Hook was bowled by Adi Sreedharan the visitors were 149-6.
Sachithra Perera and David Sargeant took the score to 188 before Sargeant (14) was run out by Charlie Roberts.
Ali Sharp made a confident 22 until he was bowled by the returning Ian McPeake (2 for 45) and Mehul Adatia was bowled next ball.
Thomas Anderson survived McPeake’s hat-trick LBW appeal and supported Perera until the latter was caught Shorthouse off Sreedharan (3 for 29) for an excellent 36 to leave Deeping all out for 221 in the 48th over.
Matt Mountain was run out for nine in the chase with the score on 15, but Olly Burford and skipper Shorthouse moved the score along well, with both playing confidently.
Burford was caught by Dave Gillett, off James Hook, for 11, and Andrew Jones went lbw for 0, but Shorthouse remained in control, taking runs and rotating the strike as he and Charlie Roberts took the score to 87 before Roberts was caught going for an expansive drive for a promising 19.
Youles fell to Adatia for nine, but Shorthouse and McPeake played expansive cricket, with McPeake regularly finding the boundary, and Shorthouse reaching another well-made half-century.
With the Sleaford score progressing well to 149, McPeake was lbw to Josh Smith for a good 38.
Conor Harbron was lbw to Perera for eight and Sreedharan and Tite without scoring as Sleaford slipped to 166-9.
The injured Andy Hibberd joined his captain and defended well as Shorthouse controlled the scoring with a range of fours and sixes.
The partnership reached 196 before Shorthouse was caught on the boundary by Perera off James Hook for a superb 88.
* Sleaford’s Second XI stayed in third in South Lincs and Border League Premier with a rapid six-wicket win at Long Sutton.
Winning the toss, Sleaford put Long Sutton in and made early strikes, with Mason Mansfield removing Rajan Singh (5), and Rhys Collings taking the wickets of Chris Booth (2) and Adam Wright (5).
Luke Barnes and Dan Oldfield steadied the innings before Barnes was fell for 32 to Ben Hutson who then dismissed Oldfield for 17.
Long Sutton were unable to contain Hutson who removed Josh Baker and Adam Whitaker, both for 0 and then ended William Naylor’s battling knock for 19, caught by Simon Godby.
Kieron Harbron bowled Jake Burton (2) before Hutson completed exceptional figures of 6 for 26 from 11 overs by having Angus Bell caught by Jake Henderson as the hosts were all out for 114 in the 39th over.
In reply, Sleaford started well with Auyush Patel producing strokes all around the wicket, but opening partner Simon Godby fell for seven and Keiron Harbron went for two.
Jake Henderson supported Patel who went past 50 before the former was bowled by Adam Wright for 15.
Patel was finally run out by William Naylor for a match-winning 70, but Matthew Bean and Collings brought the team home in just the 17th over to cap an impressive performance with bat and ball.
* Sleaford CC’s Sunday First XI headed to Bracebridge Heath, and batting first scored 163 in only 31 overs, with Angus Youles making 53.
Several batsmen also made good starts, but were unable to convert to a higher score – Matthew Bean (23), Charlie Roberts (27) and Drew Harbron (22), with Mason Mansfield unbeaten on 11.
In reply, Heath got home with two wickets in hand, with a late flurry of 39 not out from Cook the real difference between the teams.
Opener Matthew Whitehouse made 27, supported through the middle order, while for Sleaford, Youles took 3 for 31, Ben Hutson 2 for 32 and Mason Mansfield,
Charlie Roberts and Kieron Harbron all claimed one wicket.