Louth Taverners’ early season form suffered a setback as they were soundly beaten by Alford in a derby clash on Sunday.
The 80-run defeat ended the Taverners’ perfect start to the season in East Lindsey District League Division One, and made it two wins out of two for the visitors.
Despite mid-season rolling in, early season conditions still seemed to be present at the toss on a seamer’s wicket with overcast conditions.
But upon winning the toss, Alford captain Sam Lempard took the bold move to bat first.
Initially, this worked in Louth’s favour. Young Luke Johnson showed potential to remove both openers early on, one with a magical, textbook delivery that just hit the top of off stump.
Robbie Dwyer then had the number three batsman caught athletically by Will Allis who held a difficult chance to leave Alford 32-3 in the seventh over.
However, Alford batsmen Jack Wrightwick and Michael Fitzsimmons proceeded to power the ball around the ground in a violent partnership of 147. Wrightwick was particularly strong square of the wicket in cutting and pulling, while Fitzsimmons was strong down the ground on his way to 69.
With the score on 179 in the 25th over, Henry Tye managed to break the partnership by bowling Fitzsimmons.
Matthew Hamilton was brought into the attack to clean up the lower order; a task which he set about magnificently, taking 4-0-14-4.
At the other end, Robbie Dwyer back for his second spell, was doing his best to equal Hamilton’s success. He took 6.5-1-25-3 and crucially removed Wrightwick, who he bowled for 93 after hitting 13 fours, just short of a well-deserved 100.
Louth eventually bowled Alford out for 222, and on a wicket which was flattening out and with a fast outfield, the feeling at the break was Alford were only just in the ascendancy.
After tea, Alford began to pull away as they started strongly with the ball, reducing Louth to 29-3 in the fifth over despite an eye-catching 17 from Zeeshan Ahmed.
Tye and Hamilton were in no mood to lie down, and after playing themselves in, both hit strongly down the ground as they progressed the score to 82 before Tye was out for 30 off 27 balls to leave Louth 94-4 at drinks.
The hosts were in desperate need of a partnership, but any lingering hopes of a win evaporated when the middle order collapsed. Hamilton’s dismissal for a 50-ball 38, including five fours, left the Taverners on the brink of defeat at 108-8.
Will Allis had the job of salvaging as many bonus points as possible, batting with the lower order as he attempted to farm the strike and take on the bowling.
With the game gone, Allis and his two partners added 34 and gained two extra points. Luke Johnson, who hit two crisp pulls for four, was dismissed through no fault of his own, and Louth were all out for 142 with Allis stranded on 19 not out off 16 balls having hit three drives for four.
With no game this weekend, Louth play Cleethorpes will hope to begin another winning streak against Cleethorpes the following weekend and continue their title push.