Louth CC First XI fell agonisingly short in a thrilling run chase as Grimsby held on for a draw in the Lincs ECB Premier clash on Saturday.
On a green-looking wicket and favourable overhead conditions, Louth made the best possible start with Keaton Critchell trapping Grimsby opener Wilson in front of the stumps with the first ball of the match.
However, Louth failed to take advantage of two chances and the key partnership of Crossley and Snell saw off the threat of the dangerous Louth openers.
As the sun came out and the wicket flattened, it seemed Louth were in for a hot afternoon in the field. The partnership had taken the score to 88 before Snell was athletically caught by Limmer at gully off Carrington.
Three overs later when Keast had Brown caught at point, the visitors looked to be getting back on top, but when Charlton joined Crossley at the crease, Grimsby easily accumulated runs with a partnership of 103 in 20 overs.
Their partnership was eventually broken when Crossley (89) pulled Critchell to square leg and Scott took his second catch.
On his return to the First XI, Stewart West picked up two late wickets which his tight bowling deserved, including that of the belligerent Charlton in the last over who fell just short of a maiden ECB century. Grimsby finished the innings on 245-6.
Louth openers Laurence Scott and Seb Darke set about the competitive target with confidence and skill, showing a wide range of shots against the new ball.
But the promising partnership came to an unlucky end on 75 when Darke (45) was run out backing up at the non-striker’s end as he looked set for a big score.
Stewart West relished the chance to take on the spin of Tice to keep the scoreboard moving, but after two lusty blows he took on one too many and was caught on the boundary.
An intriguing period followed as Grimsby’s spin duo of Tice and Brown looked to contain, while the Louth batsmen steadily took the total up, ready for a final push.
Scott reached a patient and well-deserved 50, but fell shortly after, and Collinson and Critchell batted well against a turning ball and tight field to take the score to 169 before falling in quick succession.
With Louth needing seven-and-a-half-an-over for the last 10, a close finish looked on the cards, but Richard Limmer failed to find his usual big hitting against the spinners and chipped Brown to mid-wicket.
Graham West went in a similar fashion to his brother when a couple of boundaries off Tice were followed by his dismissal.
The ever-graceful Corden and inventive Keast were now at the crease chasing 46 more runs.
As Tice and Brown ended their spells with three wickets each, Grimsby turned to medium pace for the remaining overs which played into the hands of the athletic Louth pair who ran well and found the gaps.
They took the score past 230 and the rate to less than a run a ball going into the last three overs.
The turning point came when Harrison’s beamer was missed by the keeper and went down towards the boundary. Tice sprinted round to cut it off and his quick return hit the stumps, leaving Keast inches short of his second run.
With a new batsman at the crease it was tough to pick up the pace as Ryder couldn’t manage to get the free-flowing Corden back on strike.
The penultimate over saw Charlton bowl tightly at Corden and left Louth with eight to win off the last.
Despite a two off the first ball, good bowling left Ryder with the difficult task of hitting a four off the last ball to win.
It proved a step too far and he could only squeeze another good ball down to long-on for a single, leaving a despondent Corden (33 not out) and Louth to wonder what might have been.
A large crowd, including the regular Louth away support, were thoroughly entertained by a gripping match of almost 500 runs.
Louth resume their campaign on Saturday at London Road against strong, but inconsistent Lindum visitors.
Stumps are at noon and all support for the Wolves is welcome.
Thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park.