CRICKET: Incredible run chase sees Spalding snatch Louth victory at the death

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Louth entertained mid table Spalding at home, finding themselves in second position and looking to close the gap to league leaders Bourne.

Spalding were going to be no push overs with the classy South African opening batsman Warren Nell and also boasting three Sri Lankan overseas players in their ranks.

In a strange coincidence the Sri Lankan Thivanka Rajaratne had actually played cricket with Louth’s Stewart West at Tamil Union Cricket Club in Colombo 10 years ago and before the game they shared an emotional reunion.

For a change Louth had a reasonable start, finding themselves 40 without loss after 10 overs, with predictably Stewart West again finding himself back in the Pavilion.

Unusually, the in-form Laurence Scott also fell shortly afterwards, leaving John Medler and Amila Weththasinghe to rebuild on a good batting wicket.

They did a brilliant job, taking the score to 120 for 2, with Medler stoic and watchful and Weththasinghe attacking the spin bowling of his fellow Sri Lankans Jayasena and Rajaratne.

However, as Weththasinghe passed his 50 he took a wild swing and was clean bowled and then Henry Tye and Graham West followed shortly afterwards, both getting out to loose shots.

With lots of overs still to bat, Louth had to rebuild and Tom Corden was the man for the job. Joining Medler, they batted patiently, but positively. However, with the score on 186, Medler was caught well by Nell off the bowling of Kearns for a very well constructed half century, leaving Louth in trouble again at 186 for 6.

They really needed a score of 250 plus on what was a belting wicket and a good outfield. Corden was joined by Stuart Barker who hit a quick fire 15 before being run out. Then Richard Limmer was bowled, leaving Jake Sanders to join Corden to try and post a respectable score. This he did, as he smashed the pace man Kearns straight back over his head for a straight six before being caught on 12.

It was left to Carrington to bat through to the last ball with the classy looking Tom Corden who scored a valuable 39 runs.

Louth finished on 228 for 9, but on a docile batsman friendly wicket and rapid outfield, they were going to have to perform brilliantly with the ball to restrict Spalding’s all-star international line up.

For Louth’s seamers it was going to be a tough afternoon and they toiled away with great heart, but alas with little effect.

They were able to contain the Spalding run rate, even though Rajaratne got Spalding off to a flyer, smashing it to all parts before being caught well by Limmer in the deep.

It was clear fairly on, that the chance of bowling Spalding out was slim. It was all about whether Louth could bowl tight enough and field well enough to restrict Spalding to below 228.

Nell however looked imperious in attack and defence, and though he had little but scraps to go on, he just kept the run rate around four an over, well supported by Newton at the other end.

Pivotal moments came in the game when Stewart West, who was getting some movement in the air with his wily swing bowling, induced the outside edge off Nell to see it dropped at slip and then off Newton to see it put down by his brother behind the stumps.

That said, West would be hard pushed to grumble too much about dropped catches as he spilled two diving catches in the deep himself, in what was a below par Louth fielding performance.

However, as the overs crept on, superbly disciplined bowling from Weththasinghe, Carrington and Laurence Scott, with his leg breaks, saw Spalding slipping to eight an over required.

They still had nine wickets in the hutch though, but with three overs remaining and the score on 207, Nell holed out in the deep on 99 off the bowling of Carrington.

Louth were amazingly looking favourites with two overs to go and Spalding still requiring 20 for victory, but Newton had other ideas, smashing the second last over of the game for 14 runs.

Skipper Carrington stepped up to bowl the last over with only six required for victory and what an over it was. Two runs came off the first ball, followed by a brilliant run out by Graham West and then two more dot balls from Carrington.

So with two deliveries remaining, Spalding still needed four for victory and with new batsman Ben Smith on strike. Smith played a gutsy paddle sweep to leg side and just got an edge on the ball past the despairing dive of West, and the ball raced to the fine leg boundary, to see Spalding home to a tight win.

Louth’s disappointing point tally of six, saw them drop to fourth place, but still only 20 behind league leaders Bourne, as they head to local rivals Skegness next week.

Thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park Estate and match ball sponsor Classic Freight Limited.