Louth got off to a flying start against local rivals Woodhall Spa at Jubilee Park on Saturday and came away with a share of the points.
After four overs Woodhall were two wickets down with only two runs on the board. Skipper Andy Carrington was particularly impressive removing the dangerous Jonathan Cheer LBW in the first over and then getting Ricky Lovelace to nick one behind to ‘keeper Graham West in his next over.
He was well supported by Amila Wettasinghe, who was also nipping the ball around and causing real problems.
However, Ben O Brien and Sam Evison dug in for Woodhall and though O’Brien in particular looked all at sea as Carrington beat his outside and inside edge with impunity, the pair remained stoic in defence.
Gradually they got Woodhall back into the game and managed to put on an impressive 100 run partnership, before O’Brien fell off the bowling of Corden after a good catch by Stewart West in the deep.
Evison continued to bat positively as he took the ageing seam bowler West apart and knocked him out of the attack. However, wickets were again falling as Jake Sanders came on and bowled really tightly, eventually bowling Evison and Jack Hughes.
Laurence Scott came on and though Matthew Sargeant smashed him for a couple of straight sixes, he managed to pick up the big wicket of Luffman caught and bowled.
Sargeant’s rapid fire innings of 53 however, really put Woodhall back in the driving seat as they crept up to the 200 mark. Good knocks down the order by young Jack Timby and Tom Dixon frustrated the visitors, as they steadily crept the score up past 225.
The returning West picked up the wicket of Timby caught by Wettasinghe to leave the home side on 229 for 8.
This looked a target that was more than realistic for Louth to chase, as the wicket had flattened out. Louth’s reply faultered badly straight away, as Stewart West immediately ran out his opening partner Laurence Scott in the first over. He was joined by John Medler and the pair set about rebuilding in the face of some probing bowling from O Brien and Sargeant. They remained together for 10 overs , but disappointingly both fell just short of seeing off the new ball pair. At 30 for 3 Louth looked in real trouble, but Wettasinghe and Henry Tye both batted very positively against the change bowlers Paul Timby and Luke Smith and Louth’s innings picked up momentum quickly. With 27 overs gone, Louth found themselves 127 for 3 and looking totally dominant, however Tye having batted beautifully for his maiden ECB half century , promptly smacked the next delivery straight to mid off. The loss of Weththasinghe for 49 two overs later, bowled by Sargeant placed the game back in the balance. A good innings by Graham West of 26 looked like getting Louth back in a dominant position, however as was the story of the innings, every time Louth looked to be getting themselves in a winning position, Woodhall stepped up to the plate and got a wicket. With 8 overs to go, Louth made the decision to take the losing draw and not risk being bowled out. The hard hitting Richard Limmer and Stuart Barker had to reign in their natural tendencies, which arguably didn’t help as Woodhall were now sensibly setting a tight ringed attacking field and putting pressure on the Louth batters. This paid dividends as Barker fell caught behind and Limmer was trapped LBW by the impressive O’Brien. It was left for skipper Carrington and Jake Sanders to see off the last 3 overs, to leave Louth on 181 for 9. This saw Woodhall take a deserved 15 points and Louth 9. Man of the match for Louth was Henry Tye for his maiden ECB 50. Next week, Louth take on league leaders Bracebridge Heath at home. Thanks to sponsors Kenwick Park Estate and match ball sponsor Classic Freight Limited.