Wolves spring latest shock to reach semis

Reggie Koen's quickfire 51 helped propel Louth Seconds to their target against Alkborough EMN-170530-095201002
Reggie Koen's quickfire 51 helped propel Louth Seconds to their target against Alkborough EMN-170530-095201002

Louth CC Second XI reached the George Marshall Trophy semi-finals with a thrilling win at home to Alkborough on Bank Holiday Monday.

In order to get a result before the expected rain, both captains and umpires agreed to reduce the game to 20 overs per side.

Alex Bell continued to impress for Louth Seconds last weekend EMN-170522-100135002

Alex Bell continued to impress for Louth Seconds last weekend EMN-170522-100135002

Steve Wright won a big toss for Louth and elected to field first against the higher division side.

The hosts started well, as youngster Patrick Byrne reduced Alkborough to 17-3 with an exceptional spell of 4-0-15-3.

He was well supported by the experienced Zubair Ahmed (3-0-15-3), while young Wolves Paul Rowe and Bailey Wright bowled good spells, too, under pressure from the Alkborough batsmen.

The visitors finished on 129-8 from their 20 overs, leaving Louth a sizeable target.

Sam Marshall (12) followed Stewart West (7) to leave the Wolves 26-2, but young gun Alex Bell and Wright took the score to 57.

But when the skipper departed in the 12th over, caught in the outfield, the Premier Division side looked favourites as the required run rate climbed.

Reggie Koen was soon on the march, and his superb hitting began to get Louth back in the game, brilliantly supported by Bell, as they brought up the 50 partnership, Louth’s 100 in the 16th over.

Alkborough were not done yet and fought back with two quick wickets, Bell for 28 and then the big one of Koen for a quickfire 51 (including seven fours and two sixes).

Louth needed seven from the last over, and after three singles from the first three balls, Zubair hit a pull shot through the leg side to the boundary to give the home side victory with two balls to spare.

Louth have claimed two Premier Division scalps and will have to take another to reach the final after being drawn away to Nettleham in the semi-finals on Sunday, July 16.

* The previous day, new Second XI captain Steve Wright selected his first side, blending experience with promising young players.

Winning the toss he asked high-flying Hartsholme to bat first, and it looked inspired when talented teenage seamer Patrick Byrne removed Brown with only his second ball, a swinging delivery deftly caught off the outside edge by keeper Marshall.

But overseas player Craig Elliott and skipper Bosworth pushed the score into the 70s inside 15 overs, and Elliott (39) was just starting to accelerate when he holed out to a towering catch on the boundary by Dean Wright off veteran Stewart West (80-2).

Louth failed to capitalise and new bat Woodridge punished the home side’s wayward bowling, adding a further 100 before skipper Bosworth (68) lobbed a catch to opposite number Steve Wright.

Woodridge (74) helped the visitors cruise past 200 in the 39th over until his luck ran out when youngster Paul Rowe took another towering catch.

The visitors continued to amass runs and posted 245-5 from their allotted 45 overs.

After tea, a blistering opening spell from seamers Birkett and Pickersgill reduced the Wolves to 24-3, with openers Wright and Koen bowled by inswinging yorkers.

Stewart West and Sam Marshall dug in, counter-attacking superbly and the game looked in the balance.

But West was caught on the ropes for 61, and Birkett then bowled Lee Freeman with same delivery that had done for the Louth openers to leave the hosts in trouble on 122-5.

Marshall doggedly batted for his maiden Wolves half-century until he was caught or 57 (161-6).

The youthful remaining batsmen did not give in, particularly 13-year-old county player Bell (24 not out) who punished any wayward bowling as the hosts rallied to a respectable 210-9 in their 45 overs.

* The Seconds are at home again on Saturday when they host local rivals Keelby at London Road.

Thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park and matchball sponsors Mr C. Baxter.