Louth Taverners took on the ten men of Cleethorpes Academy on Sunday in their final East Lindsey division 1 match of the season.
With Louth already knowing they were assured of second place in the league they were free to play under minimal pressure and had maximum opportunity to execute their skills superbly.
After winning the toss, Louth captain Zubair Ahmed decided to bowl first on a pitch with an even covering of grass that appeared as if it may provide assistance for the seamers early on.
So it proved. Louth opening bowlers Adrian Smart (8-3-22-0) and Reggie Koen (8-1-29-1) both bowled particularly tight spells helped in no small part by some outstanding stops by Tom Ryder at mid-on, to leave Cleethorpes struggling on 36-1 after 13 overs with a run rate of under three per over.
However, even though Cleethorpes scored 46 in the next 11 overs, their situation arguably was even more worrying for the away side as they slumped to 76-6.
Cleethorpes first team captain Kirby though had other ideas and began to rebuild the innings with number eight batsman Nilsson mainly through a powerful cut shot to which William Allis made some good stops in the covers to keep the pressure on.
Though the pairing tried to up the run rate, they found this difficult thanks to a particularly tight line and length bowled by Zubair Ahmed who claimed the impressive figures of 8-3-17-2 and they also struggled against the pace and consistent seam movement of Tom Ryder who removed the Cleethorpes opener Cook for 32 and then took two more wickets to finish with figures of 8-1-38-3.
However, eventually something had to give and with three overs to go, and Cleethorpes on 135-6 ,they finally broke the shackles and began to score quickly around the ground.
Kirby began to score powerfully and hit strong shots out to the deep as he eventually propelled Cleethorpes to 163-7 off their 40 overs thanks in no small part to his unbeaten innings of 59, though he was helped by Louth dropping some catches that really should have been taken.
After the interval Louth began their pursuit of their target with openers Richard Bell and Laurence Scott both playing nicely and hitting some nice drives as they built a partnership of exactly 40 before Bell departed after being caught behind.
The number three was soon dismissed as well, and Scott was also caught behind as Louth suffered a mini collapse of 25-3 to leave them 65-3 with 99 still required to win.
The new pairing at the crease were William Allis and Matthew Elston. Faced with an attack of predominantly spin they built their partnership based around a large quantity of singles, with Elston hitting powerfully to the deep fielders for runs as he made great use of his feet as he advanced down the track regularly to the Cleethorpes spinners.
Allis however, was more than content to turn the ball into a major gap on the leg side at square leg regularly as Cleethorpes fed his strength and allowed the partnership to flourish.
The pair scored at similar comfortable rates throughout their partnership of 52 before Elston was caught sharply at mid-wicket for 25 off 41 balls bringing Koen to the crease with Allis.
Koen played aggressively as Louth powered towards their target. He hit 27 not out off 30 balls as he hit some powerful cuts out towards the shortest boundary of the ground. Allis ably supported him at the other end as the result never looked in doubt as Louth chased down their target four wickets down with 2.5 overs to spare with Allis finishing 36 not out off 58 balls including three fours.
Next week Louth turn their attentions to Twenty20 cricket as they begin their quest to win the shorter of the competitions they play in against Sutton on Sea and Graves Park at Sutton where they will hope they can win their group and hopefully advance to finals day. Thanks to match ball sponsor Lincs Motors Ltd.