Louth Taverners defeat reigning champions Graves Park

Louth Taverners defeated reigning East Lindsey Cricket League champions Graves Park on Sunday to avenge last season’s title near-miss.

On an overcast day, Park skipper Martin Hodgeson asked Louth to bat first in difficult conditions.

But Louth opener Imran Cheema piled into the bowling, striking 51 off 38 balls including seven fours and a six, as Louth raced to 69 off 10 overs. Cheema chopped on to bowler Ashton (8-0-56-2), but Henry Tye and John Medler (18 off 31) pushed the score along.

Despite the steady fall of wickets at one end, Tye struck the ball powerfully all round the ground, making a magnificent 73 before he fell in the 25th over.

Louth were well placed at 165-5, but Housam and Maskell each took three wickets to restrict Louth to 207, a score reached mainly thanks to Mohammed Waheed’s determined 29 not out.

Louth made a dream start in the second over when Jack Leeming removed the dangerous Matt Griffiths for a duck with his first ball, courtesy of a smart low catch by William Allis.

Chris King and Maskell battered the bowling until Maskell was removed by Cheema (6-0-28-3) in the seventh over.

Soon after, Jack Leeming (6-1-25-2) took his second wicket with Allis again taking the catch, this time leaping high above his head to leave Park on 49-3.

Graves Park recovered at a painfully slow rate, reaching 102 by the 28th over when the next wicket fell. Captain Zubair Ahmed removed the dangerman King for 69 to leave the visitors on 132-6 off 34 overs.

Louth fell just short of maximum points as Graves Park hung on to close at 163-9, but Louth won by 44 runs and claimed 19 points.

With 58 points from a possible 60 after three games, the Taverners will look to extend their lead on Sunday at home to a strong Alford side.