Louth CC First XI got their Lincs ECB Premier Division season off to a winning start as they entertained neighbours Alford at London Road on Saturday.
Before play got under way the players lined up for a minute’s silence in memory of Louth CC president Brian Papworth who passed away at the end of February.
On losing the toss, Andy Carrington’s side were put in to bat and lost opener Laurence Scott early which brought in new overseas recruit Xander Pitchers. The Namibian international produced some excellent drives, aided by the returning Matthew Hamilton who was looking set for a half-century before being adjudged LBW.
After the loss of another wicket Seb Darke joined Pitchers and they batted sensibly and with great effect to move Louth into a strong position.
Pitchers pulled a gentle long hop straight to mid-wicket to end his debut knock on 70, but Graham West and Darke carried on the same vein.
Darke was particularly impressive in his new middle order role, and having moved the field back he ran hard with shots into gaps to pass 50.
His innings increased in aggression as he gained in confidence, earning a deserved maiden ECB century.
West fell just short of his 50 while Darke remained unbeaten on 106 as Louth finished on 274-7.
The Alford innings began with some good shots from the two openers with New Zealander Riki Bovey looking impressive.
Tom Cuthbert, joined from Skegness in the close season, shared the new ball with Carrington and soon settled into a good rhythm.
But it was Carrington who produced the delivery to get through Bovey’s defence and claim the first wicket.
A wicket apiece from Carrington and Cuthbert had Alford struggling at 30-3 before White and Wrightwick took the score to 90.
Pitchers then showed his skills with the ball and, with a slight change of plan to his field and attacking options, settled into a good rhythm to claim a five-wicket haul and reduce Alford to 137-8.
Wrightwick and youngster George Gregory (7) frustrated Louth in gaining what may prove to be vital batting points, but Hamilton’s introduction broke the partnership and as the last wicket fell for 189, Wrightwick ran out of partners on 91 not out.
The man-of-the-match award went to Darke for his maiden century as Louth picked up the full 20 points and Alford six.
* Louth travel to Bourne on Saturday, while the second string entertain Old Lincolnians at London Road and the thirds travel to Horncastle.
Then on Monday, the first round of the Winkworth Cup T20 comes to London Road, starting at 10.30am, as Louth, Alford and Grimsby play a round-robin format.
Thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park and matchball sponsors Louth Volks World.