CRICKET: Cheema charge see’s Louth home in thrilling finish

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Louth Taveners travelled to newly promoted Brocklesby Park on Sunday, intent on starting their season with successive victories having beaten Holton Le Clay the previous week.

Having lost the toss, Louth captain Zubair Ahmed was surprised to find his team bowling on what appeared to be a bowlers paradise.

To begin with, this theory proved true for Louth as they made inroads into the Brocklesby batting line up. With the run rate slowed to a standstill at below three an over, Louth were able to apply enough pressure to reduce Brocklesby initially, to 27-4 off 11 overs with Dwyer picking up 5-0-12-2 to rock the Brocklesby top order.

Following an attempted recovery, Louth then began to dismantle the middle-lower order of Brocklesby with Abdul Moeed being most successful with 2-15, however the wickets were generally shared evenly between the bowlers as Brocklesby fell to 113-9 on the brink of total capitulation.

What followed, was remarkable. Somehow the final pair fought on with great effect to finish on 140-9 off 40 overs with Rexman hitting an incredibly important and well earned 29.

Louth’s innings began at a good rate. Openers Tye and Cheema pushed the score along at around 5 an over to reach 42 off 8 overs before the first wicket fell. Louth never really looked troubled by the bowling and progressed comfortably to 73 before the collapse began. Louth lost 4-9 to leave them well adrift of their total, still requiring 59 with just 5 wickets left. This was mainly due to the heroics of opening bowler Reed who took 7-0-35-3 to put his team back in the game.

Louth appeared to be recovering at 109-5 until Moeed was removed for a well fought 30 and the wickets began to fall again. Louth found themselves 128-9, still needing 13 to win with Matthew Hamilton and Luke Freeman batting together. Hamilton attempted to farm the strike throughout this period and began to fearsomely punish the bowling. Freeman too, no mug with the bat, played his part under intense pressure remaining unmoved and calm when many others may have fallen.

This combination proved strong enough for Hamilton to eventually strike the wining boundary to see Louth home by one wicket in incredibly close circumstances to claim 19/20 possible points and set themselves at the top of the table early in the season.

This week Louth take on league champions Graves Park at home in what is likely to be a key fixture that both teams will be hoping to win if either can hope to maintain and further their early title challenge in the early parts of the season.