Louth Taveners took on Sutton on Sea on Sunday in their penultimate East Lindsey Cricket League Division 1 match of the season.
With Louth under intense pressure from rivals Alford for second place in the league, Louth knew that they simply had to perform if they could hope to beat them in the league table in what has been an enthralling season.
After winning the toss, the nine men of Sutton decided to bat first in what appeared to be particularly bowler friendly conditions. So it proved. Louth reduced Sutton to 11-2 after seven overs and Sutton found it difficult to score from there on in.
Though no more wickets actually fell before the drinks break, Louth were well on top by the time it did come round with Sutton scoring at less than two runs per over in the first half of the innings, leaving them 39-2 largely helped by particularly economical spells from Adie Smart (8-2-16-2) and Tom Ryder (7-5-9-0).
A serious improvement in the run rate was clearly required for Sutton, but they were not helped in the 22nd over when number four batsman Adie Cully was adjudged LBW to Louth bowler Imran Cheema for 11 and the new batsman was soon run out early on for just a single, leaving Sutton 46-4.
Things went from bad to worse for Sutton thereafter as they attempted to up their run rate but began to lose wickets at regular intervals to Imran Cheema (8-2-21-2), Laurence Scott (4-2-10-2) and Jack Leeming (1.4-0-4-1) and when Brant was eventually stumped for 27 in the 30th over by Stuart Barker off the bowling of Scott, it was clear to all that the end was neigh with Sutton reeling on 86-7 with just one more wicket to fall due to them having only nine players.
Sure enough Sutton were bowled out just three overs later for just 90 and Louth went into tea much the happier of the two sides.
After the interval Louth openers Laurence Scott and Matthew Elston set about chasing down the Sutton total with a positive mind-set.
Both scored freely all around the ground as the score rattled along quickly before Elston was bowled for 29 off 26 balls in a splendid innings that included four 4s.
However, this only served to bring Imran Cheema to the crease who launched into the Sutton bowling with some vicious stroke play as he hit four 4s and two 6s in his undefeated innings of 33 not out off just 10 balls as he took Louth over the line to victory with Scott, who himself hit 22 not out off 29 balls, including two 4s, as Louth won easily by nine wickets with a whole 31.1 overs to spare.
Next week Louth conclude their season at home to Cleethorpes Academy as they hope to finish on a winning note before they shift their attention to the Twenty20 season, looming on the horizon that they have high aspirations of winning.
They must not yet look past an accomplished Cleethorpes XI who have reached fourth in the league for good reason. It is therefore pivotal that the team remain focused on the job in hand and make sure that they come out firing so they can continue to take their long winning streak into the T20 season.
Thanks to match ball sponsor Richard Garbutt.