Alford collapse to Slaford defeat

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A batting collapse saw Alford CC First XI fall to a heavy defeat at Sleaford on Saturday in the Lincs ECB Premier.

Alford went down by 82 runs at London Road, but remain in sixth ahead of the visit of reigning champions Bracebridge Heath this weekend.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Alford were soon under pressure.

Thomas Shorthouse made a fiery start, blasting 43 off just 23 balls to lead Sleaford to 58-0 after only eight overs before a good catch by Rikki Bovey off Nick Bennett (8-0-37-1) removed him.

Alford wrestled some momentum back when Bovey (14-2-49-3) was brought into the attack and claimed two victims in quick succession to pin Sleaford back to 81-3.

The hosts rallied in the middle overs, but Steve Kirkham’s figures of 7-0-45-1 did him no justice as the movement he created saw him unlucky not to run through the middle order.

However, a composed 38 from Wilson and 61 busy runs from Morris saw Sleaford progress to 178-5 by the 34th over.

It was mainly down to a useful spell from Tom White (5.4-0-25-3) that the hosts weren’t out of sight by the halfway stage, but his wickets and Andrew White (9-0-41-2) helped bowl out Sleaford for 235 off 47.4 overs.

Alford’s reply initially inspired optimism as Bovey and White’s brave approach saw them on top in the early exchanges.

But with the score on 39, two wickets were lost to Morris (5-0-30-2) and while a recovery followed, Alford’s next collapse from 77-2 to 81-5 ended the match as a contest with only bonus points to play for.

Much credit goes to Shorthouse who claimed all three wickets with sharp turning deliveries which exploded out of the surface.

Bennett contributed 35, but once Bovey fell for a sparkling 74, no other batsman could make more than 15 as they finished 153 all out.

Going into Saturday’s tough assignment, Alford must take heart from their recent good performances, with two wins in three, and also from their victory earlier in the season over highly-fancied Grantham.

The match starts at Train Fen Holt at noon.