CRICKET: Woodhall Spa duo impress in Lincolnshire draw

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Woodhall Spa duo Jonny Cheer and Matthew Sargeant helped Lincolnshire battle to a draw in their opening Minor Counties Championship match of the season against Staffordshire at Sleaford this week.

Cheer finished with an unbeaten half century in Lincolnshire’s impressive second innings while all-rounder Sargeant impressed as an opening bowler.

Skipper David Lucas was unavailable but Akhil Patel returned to the side after a lengthy absence. Lindum’s Luke Robinson made his debut.

Staffordshire won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening pair of Mellor and Kadeer Ali put on 107 for the first wicket and this, together with scores of 55 by Dan Brierley and 96 not out by Peter Wilshaw, laid the foundations for a large first innings total.

However, from 238-2, they fell away to 280-8 before Wilshaw and Cumming added 45 for the ninth wicket, leaving the visitors on 325-8 at the end of their allotted 90 overs.

Sargeant bowled well without much reward while Patel with 5-60 was the pick of Lincolnshire’s attack.

Lincolnshire made a poor start in pursuing the total and fell to 98-5 at the close of play on day one with Patel on 42 not out.

On the second morning, Patel and Alex Osmond batted solidly for over an hour before the latter was run out for 20 having added 57 for the sixth wicket.

The lower order managed to pass the follow on target of 176 and were finally dismissed for 181, Patel top scoring with 72.

Heavy rain late in the afternoon forced an early closure to Staffordshire’s second innings as they finished on 82-1 with Tim Maxfield on 40 not out and Kadeer Ali on 31 not out.

Day three dawned sunny and breezy as Staffordshire continued their second innings and planned to extend an already sizeable lead.

Tight bowling and good ground fielding kept a stranglehold on their progress and as a consequence, wickets began to fall.

Eventually, they were dismissed just before lunch for 219, leaving Lincolnshire chasing 364 to win in around 80 overs.

Karanjit Bansal added to his second innings wickets with a fluent half century, but with three wickets down, Lincolnshire were under pressure to save the game.

With careful play and good shot selection, Cheer and debutant Robinson calmly set about their task.

They batted up to the tea interval and on to close of play making 57 not out and 65 not out respectively to take Lincolnshire to 244-3.

It was an excellent recovery by the young Lincolnshire side and in so doing, they obtained eight points for the drawn match with Staffordshire taking 12.

Lincolnshire next meet Northumberland at Gosforth, starting on Sunday, June 22.