CRICKET: Bourne charge gathering pace

On the up: Bourne's Fahad Masood slogs one out of the ground on Saturday as his side continued their charge up the table. Photo:SG300711-114TW (TIM WILSON)

On the up: Bourne's Fahad Masood slogs one out of the ground on Saturday as his side continued their charge up the table. Photo:SG300711-114TW (TIM WILSON)

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BOURNE recovered from a nightmare start to keep their fine winning run going on Saturday.

The defending Lincs ECB Premier Division champions beat Louth by 38 runs at the Abbey Lawn, thanks largely to a fine seventh-wicket partnership from Charlie Hopkins and David Christmas.

With leaders Bracebridge Heath beaten by nearest rivals Boston, third-placed Bourne are still in with a faint chance of the title.

Home skipper Peter Morgan won the toss and elected to make first use of the track, but his Bourne side were wobbling at 12-3 after the dismissals of Ben Stroud (0), Rob Bentley (7) and Conrad Louth (0).

The champions boast a strong batting line-up though – and Morgan (29) and Masood (28) both did their bit to rebuild the innings.

However, both fell when they looked to have played themselves in and Rob Dunn (7) followed to leave Bourne on the brink of collapse at 107-6.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man – in the shape of club legend Christmas.

He dropped anchor at one end, allowing Hopkins (59) to hit seven classy boundaries in a partnership of 66.

Hopkins was eventually bowled by England ladies’ international Arran Brindle, but Christmas (34 not out) carried his bat to the end of the innings as Bourne reached 202-8 from 50 overs.

Mid-table Louth may have fancied their chances of reaching their target, but they were ravaged by an early Masood assault.

The Pakistani paceman (5-60) removed openers Laurence Scott and Brindle for ducks early on, while he also accounted for dangerman Nuwan Shiroman (56).

That man Hopkins (3-44) also shone with the ball as Louth were skittled out for 164 in 36.1 overs.

Elsewhere, Market Deeping were unable to defend 260-7 against Sleaford.

Batting first, a super 97 from teenage ace Josh Bowers was the highlight of their innings.

Chris Jones (32) and Charlie Kearns (25) also chipped in – leaving Deeping seemingly well-placed for glory.

Their prospects further improved when Ali Sharp dismissed openers Will Brewster (0) and Phil Sneath (5) cheaply.

But Oliver Burford and Matt Mountain had other ideas as Sleaford romped home to victory with over seven overs to spare.

Burford starred with a dazzling 113 not out, while Mountain (67) played a superb supporting role.

The defeat drops Deeping, who host Louth this Saturday, down to sixth. Rivals Bourne make the trip to Skegness (both 12.30pm).