Brilliant Bandara leads bounce back

Malinga Bandara
Malinga Bandara

Overseas star Malinga Bandara produced an outstanding performance to help Woodhall Spa bounce back to winning ways in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League at Grimsby last Saturday.

The Sri Lankan ace took 5-68 with the ball to help dismiss Grimsby for 173 and then smashed 63 to power Woodhall to a winning score of 177-3.

Not that it was a one man show as Woodhall finally shrugged off frustrating defeats in their two previous games that killed off any lingering hopes of a successful title challenge

Skipper Jack Luffman was delighted to celebrate a victory and he will now be hoping his side can complete their campaign on a high when they entertain Billingborough at Jubilee Park next Saturday.

Bandara’s all round display was certainly a case of perfect timing as he looks set to return to Woodhall next season.

The former Kent and Gloucestershire ace had made a big impact this term - not least with the bat - and has two centuries to his name.

However, it was his leg spin that had Grimsby in trouble on Saturday, although an under-strength Woodhall attack had to work hard for any successes.

With key seamers Ben O’Brien, Connor Parsons and Luke Smith all missing, Woodhall turned to the relatively inexperienced Lewis Holmes and Jack Cook, supplemented by Jonny Cheer.

Cooke did gain two wickets, but at 103-2 Grimsby looked set for a sizeable total with Maninder Singh and skipper Steve Crossley well set.

But Bandara turned the game Woodhall’s way - dismissing Singh and Crossley - as he teamed up with fellow spinner Paul Timby to peg Grimsby back.

Bandara’s 5-63 came off 15.3 overs while Timby snapped up 3-40 off 13 as Grimsby lost their last eight wickets for less than 70 runs.

Newcomer Ryan Hughes opened Woodhall’s batting alongside Sam Evison and made an instant impression.

After Evison went for 12, Hughes made 34, falling with the score on 88. Bandara then partnered Cheer in an excellent stand that went a long way to settling the contest.

They took the total to 148 when Bandara went, but Cheer stayed on to guide Woodhall to victory with 45 not out.

*Woodhall Spa second team were also celebrating a victory on Saturday after a four wicket success against Skegness seconds at Jubilee Park in the Premier Division of the South Lincs and Border League.

Tight bowling and excellent fielding saw Skegness dismissed for 111 and Woodhall replied in determined style with 112-6.