Woodhall Spa first XI climbed to the top of the Lincs ECB Premier League on Saturday with a four wicket victory over lowly Grantham.
Visiting captain Rohan Nurse won the toss and elected to bat on a flat Jubilee Park pitch and he must have been disappointed that his improving side were bowled out for just 163. He made 53 himself and Lincolnshire Minor Counties player Dan Freeman looked in good form with his 46 before being the first of six wickets for Spa’s Malinga Bandara. Indeed, the home bowling attack showed great discipline and skill and were, in the main, backed up with some high quality fielding.
Strike bowlers Luke Smith and Jo Irving started well for the home side and restricted the scoring rate in the early overs. It was Smith who got the breakthrough, trapping Webb lbw before also taking the wickets of Mihill and the dangerous Bansal in an excellent 14 over spell.
Once again the introduction of spin took its toll on the visitors’ line-up and only Nurse showed any confidence, but when he fell to Etienne Botha it was left to Bandara to wheel away at the other end and he finished with superb figures of 6-27 off 14 overs.
To Grantham’s credit, they made Spa work for every run and Freeman in particular always looked dangerous with his lines and length. Despite losing skipper Jack Luffman (8) early on, fellow opener Sam Evison anchored the innings well and he looked set to carry his bat before falling to a clever piece of bowling from Freeman for a fine 71.
This left the experienced Matt Sargeant to play an excellent finishing role, and victory was sealed when he smashed Peck over his head for a huge six and, with news that Bracebridge Heath had lost at Lindum, Spa managed to jump to the top of the league with a narrow four-point lead.
Away at Grantham, the Spa’s second XI continued their great run of form with a seven wicket victory after chasing down the home side’s 166.
Skipper Paul Timby continued his fine run with the bat, scoring a well made 68 and Rob Bee made a useful 36 in a big second wicket partnership. However, it was left to Chris Anderson (32no) and Tom Dixon (17no) to take the side to victory.
Earlier in the afternoon, Connor Parsons (4-50), Timby (3-36) and Matt Haslam (2-21) were the chief destroyer,s and they were again well backed up in the field with a handful of fine catches being taken, none more so than Nick Bishop’s in the gully.
On Sunday, the Wanderers’ first XI lost by 17 runs at Middle Rasen.
On a difficult batting wicket, Spa bowled out their hosts for 80, with Alex King taking 5-15.
But as the bounce got lower and lower, batting became increaisngly difficult against an accurate home attack. Spa were bowled out for 63, Jack Luffman top scoring with 25.
Away at Sleaford, the Wanderers’ second XI blended a mixture of the very young and the not so very young and put in a spirited display.
The home side amassed 234-6. Simon Leggatte, playing his first game in more than a decade, claimed two wickets, as did John Temperton.
In reply, Spa were bowled out for 138, with Adam Barker top scoring with a quickfire 30.