LOUTH earned an impressive victory at home to Grimsby to leapfrog their opponents into third in the Lincolnshire ECB League on Saturday.
The away side won the toss and opted to bat first and Louth bowler Andy Carrington was quickly into the action, trapping Neill Snell LBW. Then Stewart West, at the other end, chipped in, removing Jim Morgan and the South African all-rounder George Linde.
When Carrington knocked over Harry Warwick Grimsby were rocking badly on 23 for 4, but skipper Richard Antcliffe and Lee Charlton began rebuilding and batted with real focus.
When West managed to get through Antcliffe’s defences and clean bowled him, the Grimsby side looked in real trouble at 54 for 5. Charlton continued to bat with good selection and some style, intent on posting some sort of target.
The ailing West and Carrington were taken off and replaced by Nuwan Shiroman’s seam at one end and skipper Mark Roberts’ off spin at the other.
Results came immediately as Roberts removed Taylor and White and then the dangerous Charlton for an impressive knock of 60.
Shiroman came to the party, clean bowling Crossley and then number 11 Tillison to finish the innings off on a seemingly under par 133.
Louth knew that any sort of significant partnership would see them home, but both Lawrence Scott and Nuwan Shiroman were sent back to the hutch early on, leaving Louth on 16 for 2.
However, dogged knocks from both John Medler and Jason Collinson saw the score progress to 54 before Medler was trapped LBW by the wily left-arm spin of South African Linde. Graham West followed in the same fashion shortly afterwards and Louth were again looking slightly troubled at 58 for 4.
Collinson and Joe Irving were batting confidently, but when Collinson dragged on a wide delivery from Linde with the score on 92 it looked like there might be a twist in the tail.
There certainly was, as Stuart Barker, who was looking in fine form, also fell LBW to Linde and then Stewart West flicked one off his legs and holed out on the boundary.
Irving was not looking at his most fluent best, but in a gutsy and flamboyant knock he decided that attack was the best option. He hit Linde for a massive six over long on and then hit Gary Tillison for 14 off one over, to leave Louth in the box seat. However, the Grimsby side were not done and, in an incredibly tense finish, Irving tried one hit too many off Linde and was stumped, leaving it to skipper Roberts and Matt Crowther to see Louth home.
They rose above the pressure and did it in some style, Roberts smashing Linde off the back foot for four and then Crowther pushing one into the offside for the winning run, Louth finishing on 134 for 8.
The victory moved Louth up to third in the league, and with fourth-placed Boston at home next week, followed by struggling Woodhall Spa the week after, they will be looking for two wins to push them into contention against league leaders Bracebridge Heath.