A first class bowling and fielding display got Louth First XI’s Lincs ECB Premier season up and running with their maiden victory of 2016.
Heading west to play unbeaten arch rivals Woodhall Spa, there were doubts any cricket would be possible on a wet, miserable day, but the rain held off.
Veteran skipper Andy Carrington finally found some form with the toss and elected to send a fragile home side to bat first.
Keaton Critchell struck gold in the first over, trapping the Woodhall skipper in front with a hooping in-swinger with the third ball of the day. Sri Lankan Test veteran Prasanna Jayawardene strode to the crease, but Critchell trapped him in front on his second ball as he shouldered arms.
To Louth’s utter shock the appeal was turned down, and the decision proved expensive as the classy Sri Lankan went on to make 54.
After a tidy bowling partnership between Carrington and Critchell, Tom Corden was brought into the attack and picked up the big wicket of Jayawardene, along with two other big scalps.
Corden’s partner in crime at the other end was Nick Keast who bowled exceptionally, taking two wickets, one a brilliant catch in the outfield by Critchell.
Performance of the day in the field was Graeme West who showed off his 30 years of experience with the gloves by taking two top class leg side stumpings as the hosts finished on 170-9 off their 50 overs.
Opener Laurence Scott demolished the Woodhall bowlers with his bread and butter trademark pull shot, but a ball slipped through the defences of fellow opener Seb Darke as the Market Rasen import was dismissed for nought.
Critchell fell for nought, nicking a seaming delivery outside his off stump, but Richard Bell showed positive intent from the outset, getting into the flow of his innings with some lovely cut shots.
A third wicket stand of nearly 100 put Louth into a commanding position, but Scott tried one sweep too many and was struck on his pads in front of middle by the veteran Woodhall spinner for 61.
With Bell passing 50 and Tom Corden at the crease it seemed inevitable Louth would cruise to victory until a skied pull shot brought Bell’s dismissal as the big hitter was sent packing for 59.
Corden carried the innings along but fell shortly after with Louth needing 27 runs off the last seven overs with four wickets in hand.
Keast and Graham West kept the runs ticking over, putting on 18 runs before Keast fell to a stunning catch at mid-wicket.
Jason Collinson whacked two fours in three balls to secure Louth their first win of the season.
* Louth wish to thanks club sponsors Kenwick Park and matchball sponsors The Notts Hotel, Cleethorpes.