Sleaford CC slip to fifth defeat in six as title bid recedes

Andy Hibberd hit a half-century, as did Ollie Burford, but the chase fell short
Andy Hibberd hit a half-century, as did Ollie Burford, but the chase fell short

Sleaford CC’s disappointing run of form continued with defeat to Lindum as hopes of a Lincs ECB Premier title receded further.

Having led the table for most of the first half of the season, the 46-run home defeat to their Lincoln visitors saw Sleaford slip to fourth place, now 49 points adrift of leaders Woodhall Spa.

It was their fifth defeat in six matches having gone undefeated for the opening eight matches of the season.

The Firsts, sponsored by Baker Plant Hire, won the toss invited the visitors to bat first at London Road.

Lindum opened up with Pierce Morley–Barnes and Aiden Lockwood and immediately took the attack to Angus Youles and Scott Tite, racing to a 50-run opening partnership in 66 balls with Morley-Barnes making 34 of those.

The stand reached 62 before Lockwood was run out by Kapugedera for 17.

Charles Tomlinson came to the crease and for a time the Sleaford bowlers restricted the visitors, but could not break through as the opener reached his fifty.

Both batsmen found the boundary on a regular basis thanks to an excellent batting surface as the Lindum total developed and Tomlinson brought up his fifty off 78 balls, including two sixes.

However with only nine further runs added he was caught by Kapugedera, off Drew Harbron, for 59, with Lindum on 207-2.

The ever-fluent Morley-Barnes reached his century off 142 balls with five fours and four sixes before he was finally caught for 124 by Rogers, off Drew Harbron (2 for 40), giving Lindum a superb base for the final overs.

Tom Lindsay batted through for a well-judged 24 not out, with Rob Cooke making 17, and Grant Watkins four not out in a Lindum total of 260-4 in their 50 overs.

Drew Harbron taking two for 40.

In reply, the usual reliable opening partnership of Rogers and Patel for once failed, with Rogers bowled by Peatman off the first ball of the innings.

His replacement Kapugedera immediately attacked, showing excellent form to reach the boundary and progress the Sleaford total.

Patel supported him, but was bowled around his legs by Sophie Munroe for five (14-2).

Andy Hibberd joined Kapugedera for a vital partnership and they developed the score well, with both playing fluently.

But with score on 58, Kapugedera was caught by Munroe on the boundary off the pace of Peatman.

Oliver Burford joined Hibberd and both played good cricket to re-establish the innings, running effectively and putting away the wide ball.

Hibberd reached his fifty off 91 balls, but immediately fell to Ben Rolphs, leaving Sleaford 133-4.

Burford continued to accumulate, but with his score on 52 was caught by Cook off Rolphs (158-5).

Matthew Wing made a defiant 38 before going to Cook (5 for 59), and Andrew Jones made 10, but Sleaford were all out for 214 in the 48th over, giving Lindum victory by 46 runs.

On Saturday, Sleaford travel to Gorse Lane to play Grantham CC for a noon start.

* Sleaford CC Second XI travelled to Billingborough on Saturday for a vital clash in the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division.

Billingborough batted first and were bowled out for 141 in 39 overs.

Sleaford replied with 142-4, made in 44 overs, to secure some vital league points.

This week the team host Skegness at London Road.

* On Sunday, Sleaford CC First XI played Fulbeck in the Lincoln Sunday Premier League.

Batting first, Sleaford made 158 all out in 37 overs, but then bowled Fulbeck out for 127 in the 29th over of their reply as Sleaford won by 31 runs.

This weekend the team travels to Ancaster CC.