Lincs ECB: Louth CC hit back to beat title-chasing Grantham

Xander Pitchers topped Louth's batting and bowling averages last season EMN-171206-110047002
Xander Pitchers topped Louth's batting and bowling averages last season EMN-171206-110047002

Louth CC First XI returned to form with a much-needed 20-point win over title contenders Grantham to lift themselves off the bottom of the Lincs ECB Premier.

Play looked unlikely as the league leaders headed to London Road following heavy overnight rain, but the ground showed its quality of drainage and covers as it staged a reduced 30-over-a-side match after a delayed start.

Andy Carrington won an important toss, electing to bowl in a crucial match for the Louth side after a string of below-par performances.

Opening bowlers Carrington and Brindle assessed the bowler-friendly conditions quickly, controlling the run rate and beating the bat with regular, lateral movement.

It was, however, an impressive piece of fielding from Matt Hamilton, which provided the breakthrough off the bowling of Brindle, and this standard of fielding spread throughout the side.

It led to regular wickets, including three direct-hit run-outs, as Grantham were dismissed for 111 after 28 overs.

Pick of the bowlers, Carrington, finished with figures of 3 for 18 from eight overs, assisted by new recruit Paul Martin and overseas signing Xander Pitchers who both took vital wickets.

The Louth side never allowed the opposition to gain fluidity to their innings, and it took them 20 overs to hit the first boundary of the game, not for the want of trying.

This led to Louth requiring 112 runs at the halfway stage, an ordinarily manageable chase.

The early wicket of Wayne Garlick gave Grantham some early momentum; but this faded as Pitchers came to the crease and added his most important contribution of the season.

The Namibian international struck an unbeaten 60 off 81 balls against a quality seam attack on a pitch which would have beaten the technique of a weaker player.

Contributions were also made by Laurence Scott and Richard Bell in the successful chase in front of a home crowd which offered much-needed support.

The First XI travel to Market Deeping on Saturday in an attempt to build upon the improvements shown this weekend.

Thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park and matchball sponsors Tetney Golf Club.

Grantham: 111.

Bowling: A. Carrington; A. Brindle; R. Pitchers; P. Martin.

Louth: L. Scott 20, W. Garlick 1, R. Pitchers 60*, R. Bell 27*, Extras 6. Total: 114-2.

* Matches involving Louth Seconds and Third XIs were both rained off.

This weekend the Third XI entertain Brigg Town First XI in County League Division Four.