CRICKET: Louth Taveners title charge back on course

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Louth Taveners travelled to Tetford on Sunday for their ninth East Lindsey Cricket League Division 1 match of the season and a crucial game regarding their title aspirations.

After losing their last two consecutive matches, Louth had slipped well behind league leaders Graves Park in the league table and knew that another defeat would all but end their title challenge.

It must have been pleasing therefore for skipper Zubair Ahmed and his particularly strong team when they won the toss and elected to bowl in overcast conditions with the threat of rain ever present.

The decision to bowl seemed to be a wise one when opening bowler Adrian Smart removed all of Tetford’s top three batsmen within his first five overs, as he eventually finished with the desirable figures of 8-2-21-3 and reduced Tetford to 24-3.

Smart was well backed up by other opening bowler Reggie Koen, who was desperately unlucky not to claim a wicket as he bowled with pace and accuracy to claim the particularly economical figures of 8-3-15-0.

Tetford then began to rebuild their innings and reached 59-3 by drinks as they looked likely to post a competitive score. However, new bowler Tom Ryder (7-1-27-3) claimed three wickets in his first three overs after drinks and Dan Hoyle (6-1-20-0) bowled tightly to help keep Tetford’s scoring rate down.

Tetford then nearly doubled their score with their next partnership as batsmen Baxter made 34 off 98 balls, and Smith made 29 off 32 balls to push the Tetford total up to a competitive score.

However, once Smith was removed the Tetford tail folded quickly as skipper Zubair Ahmed took 5-3-5-2 and the most economical bowler in the whole of the Lincolnshire cricket league so far this year, Phil Nicholson, took 2.3-1-15-2 as Tetford were eventually bowled out for a below par 123.

After the interval, Louth soon lost an early wicket as one of their openers skied Tetford bowler Smith straight up in the air to leave them 8-1.

However, Richard Bell and new batsman Stuart Barker then played watchfully whilst respecting the impeccable lines and lengths that the Tetford bowlers were offering, as they slowly but surely chipped away at the Tetford total before Bell was dismissed by a beautiful delivery from Dixon, to depart for 26 with Louth 78-2.

This did not deter Barker from scoring as he began to accelerate and moved onto his 50 off 79 balls, well supported by new batsman Phil Nicholson as they eventually took Louth over the line to victory with 5.5 overs to spare. Barker finished on 59 off 94 balls and Nicholson finished on 10 to see Louth to a comfortable victory.

The dominant nature in which the victory was achieved by Louth meant that they finished the match having achieved maximum points from the fixture and therefore moved above Skegness, who Louth take on next week at home in another tough fixture.

Louth move to third in the league table as they got their title challenge back on track, though they can ill afford to drop too many points through the rest of their campaign if they are to challenge for top spot.

Thanks to match ball sponsors Lincs Motors Ltd.