CRICKET: Battling Horncastle just miss out in thriller

A Horncastle batsman hits out in the match against Cleethorpes
A Horncastle batsman hits out in the match against Cleethorpes

Horncastle Cricket Club produced a much improved performance, but still lost a thrilling Lincolnshire County League First Division game against Cleethorpes at Coronation Walk on Saturday.

A miss-firing batting line-up finally came good as Horncastle rattled up 185 - the last wicket falling in the penultimate over of their innings.

They reduced Cleethorpes to 24-2 in reply, but had reckoned without visiting skipper Andy Haith and lower order man Stuart Harvey.

They took their side to the brink of victory in a stand worth 68 before the winning runs came with just a ball to spare.

The four wicket defeat was desperately unlucky on Horncastle who remained rooted in the bottom two of the table.

If they had produced performance like this all season, though, they would be in a much higher position.

Opener Harry Smith led the way for Horncastle with an impressive 54, which included some blistering stroke play.

He received plenty of support - despite the early loss of skipper Nick Paige who was clean bowled for four.

Phil Roberts hit 39 and there were other excellent contributions from Gareth Jones (23), Richard Dixon (25) and number nine Jim Watters who hit a quickfire 24. Andy Severn took six wickets for the visitors.

Paige and his players must have felt confident at the tea interval and Smith followed up his good work with the bat by ripping out Callum Carter (4) and Paul Sunley (2).

However, opener Josh Matthews hit a defiant 66, but when he fell to Roberts, Horncastle were back in the game.

But Haith (46) and Harvey (41 not out) then came up with what proved to be a matchwinning stand.

Although Haith fell to a catch by Paige off Joe Smith, Harvey saw his side over the line in a tight, tense finish.