Title challengers Louth Taverners warmed up for their showdown with leaders Alford with a crushing win over Cleethorpes Academy on Sunday.
The eight-wicket victory kept Louth within touching distance of Alford in East Lindsey Cricket League Division One ahead of this Sunday’s pivotal top-of-the-table clash.
Skipper Zubair Ahmed won the toss and bowled first against a young Cleethorpes side who started strongly. Opener Davey (19) raced along at a run-a-ball, and after five overs, Cleethorpes were well-placed on 29-0.
Louth opening bowler Khawar (6-0-20-1) broke through and more soon followed. Luke Johnson (6-1-30-4) pitched the ball up and annihilated the top order with three of his victims caught by wicket-keeper Tom Corden, leaving Cleethorpes in disarray at 36-6 having lost six wickets for five runs.
The hosts added a seventh wicket stand of 17, but Imran Cheema picked up 3 for 5, and Laurence Scott’s amazing catch in the slips ended the innings on 75.
Louth openers William Allis and Reggie Koen scored quickly and by the 10th over, Allis had caught up with the hard-hitting Koen with four consecutive boundaries to take Louth to 60-0.
At 70-0, Allis retired not out, to allow debutant Josh White to hit the winning runs. White almost managed the task, but was dismissed and the returning Allis was also out for a run-a-ball 40, attempting to end the game.
But Koen hit the winning runs, finishing unbeaten on a superb 30 off 34 balls as Louth collected maximum points.