CRICKET: Woodhall Spa squeeze Skegness in Premier League clash

Woodhall Spa's Joe Irving opened the bowling for Woodhall Spa. Photo: Nigel West

Woodhall Spa's Joe Irving opened the bowling for Woodhall Spa. Photo: Nigel West

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Lincolnshire ECB Premier League

Woodhall Spa 178

Skegness 172

Woodhall Spa squeezed Skegness to claim a narrow six-run victory at home on Saturday.

Skegness squandered an excellent chance to clip the wings of high-flying Spa at Jubilee Park. Having restricted second placed Spa to 178 in a rain-affected match, the seasiders were within touching distance of a memorable victory, thanks to a 65-ball 81 from Pradeep Chanditha.

The Skegness opener struck eight fours and three sixes before becoming the first of Ross Dixon’s four victims. The home bowler went on to finish with figures of 4-11 as he derailed the visitors’ charge for the line.

It was an intervention that saw Skegness slip from 167-7 to 172 all out.

Despite the interruptions for rain, the two sides put on a thrilling contest.

Spa won the toss and elected to bat, but lost captain Jack Luffman with the score on 33, caught behind by his opposite number Sean Chamberlain, off Brendan Young.

A second wicket partnership of 91 from Sam Evison and Malinga Bandara saw the home side recover, but the loss of Bandara for 45 in the 32nd over was quickly followed by the dismissal of former Skegness batsman Ricky Lovelace.

Pressure applied by Young and Norman Brackley (5-43) saw the Spa innings stutter to 178 all out in the 50th over.

One of the highlights of the Skegness fielding performance was the run out of Etienne Botha. He had looped a Brackley delivery ball over the head of Umar Farooq. It looked as though Botha had escaped with his wicket when Farooq could not quite reach the ball before it bounced. But he swivelled to fire in a throw from the boundary and his direct hit sent the batsman packing.

Skegness were given a helping hand at the beginning of their innings when Joe Irving bowled five wides during his first over, but he recovered to skittle out Aussie Chris Graser with the first ball of his second.

At the other end, Luke Smith was on the receiving end of some big hits from Chanditha, who seemed to be in a hurry to get the game finished. The Skegness opener put on 52 with Wamanga Perera and 31 with Brackley to help the seasiders to 131-4 before being bowled by Dixon. One of his three sixes was hit so far that the umpires had to call for a new ball during Smith’s second over.

Skegness were sniffing victory when Dixon struck to remove Brendan Young and Sean Chamberlain cheaply, and then finished the nervous visitors off by bowling Farooq in the 37th over.