An incredible hat-trick from spinner Aghar Tahir was in vain as Louth fell 21 runs short of victory at home to Woodhall Spa on Saturday.
The visitors rolled into London Road with Sri Lankan test batsman Prasanna Jayawardene in their line-up, but on a difficult pitch Woodhall struggled to 80-3 at drinks.
Jayawardene hadn’t last long, he was on just 13 when Jason Collinson cleaned up his stumps before Jack Hughes went to make it 77-4.
Skipper Jack Luffman put up some stiff resistance in the face of tight bowling from the Louth seamers, but the slow right arm bowling of Aghar Tahir spun the game in Louth’s favour as he picked up a hat-trick, helped by good catching from Stephen Parkinson and by a hat-trick delivery that unfortunately for the batsmen pitched short and came through very low.
When Azeem Ghumman spun out Luffman in the 42nd over, Woodhall had set a disappointing 144 target.
Louth’s reply faltered in the face of good bowling from Matthew Sargeant and Luke Smith, which saw openers Stewart West and Laurence Scott out early and even more crucially Azeem Ghumman for only four.
The Louth middle order fared little better with wickets falling slowly, by the time the last wicket partnership of Tom Corden and Robbie Dwyer came to the crease, Louth had only reached 85 and were staring at a defeat.
What followed frankly embarrassed the rest of the Louth order as debutant Dwyer and the Corden the attacked.
With the score quickly passing 100 and then 110 and a few lusty blows later 120, the Louth players and spectators were clearly beginning to think the unthinkable.
Alas, from a Louth perspective their heroic efforts ended in vain as Dwyer chanced his arm again and was clean bowled by O’Brien to leave Louth on 124.
This result saw Louth’s second defeat in a week, whilst Woodhall went top of the table. Louth’s next game is away at Market Deeping and it is clear that their batting must improve.