CRICKET: Champs’ title charge fading

That is out: Bourne's Conrad Louth (left) has Grimsby's George Linde caught by keeper Peter Morgan for just nine on Saturday, before celebrating his departure (below). Photos by NIKKI GRIFFIN
That is out: Bourne's Conrad Louth (left) has Grimsby's George Linde caught by keeper Peter Morgan for just nine on Saturday, before celebrating his departure (below). Photos by NIKKI GRIFFIN
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DEFENDING Lincs ECB Premier Division champions Bourne slipped into the bottom five after slumping to another defeat on Saturday.

Peter Morgan’s side fell 27 runs short of Grimsby’s 227-9 at the Abbey Lawn, making it four defeats from seven league games so far this season.

Abbey Lawn, Bourne'Cricket action Bourne vs Grimsby'Names: Batsmen George Linde (he got caught out) and Neil Snell. Bowlers Conrad Louth and Fahad Masood. Wicket keeper Peter Morgan

Abbey Lawn, Bourne'Cricket action Bourne vs Grimsby'Names: Batsmen George Linde (he got caught out) and Neil Snell. Bowlers Conrad Louth and Fahad Masood. Wicket keeper Peter Morgan

That leaves them a whopping 48 points behind leaders Bracebridge Heath – and 32 behind rivals Market Deeping.

It was Grimsby’s top three that did most of the damage. James Morgan (72) slapped nine fours and a six in his 84-ball innings, while Neal Snell chipped in with a handsome 51 before being run out.

Opener Richard Antcliffe also made a composed 30, putting on 99 for the first wicket with Morgan.

Their next-best source of runs was extras, with the 22 shipped by Bourne proving pivotal.

Charlie Hopkins (3-86), Tom Dixon (2-44) and Conrad Louth (2-30) were the pick of the bowlers, while star man Fahad Masood could only manage 1-43.

In contrast, Bourne’s reply got off to a stuttering start as they found themselves 47-3.

Skipper Morgan (12), Ben Stroud (17) and Hopkins (6) were the men out, but a 96-run stand from Louth (83) and Masood (47) got the hosts back on track.

However, George Linde (5-52) ripped through the Bourne lower order as the last six wickets fell for just 57 runs, leaving them all out for 200 in 44.5overs.

It wasn’t a great day for high-flying Market Deeping either, as they were forced to settle for a losing draw against Hartsholme.

An unbeaten 103 from Chris Jones and figures of 6-69 from Tom Andrews weren’t enough for the title hopefuls, as Hartsholme racked up a hefty 259-9.

Kit Spence (94) and Nick Wilkinson (65) were chief destroyers at Outgang Road, as the visitors made full use of winning the toss and batting first.

Deeping never looked like chasing down their target, as Jones lacked support from his team-mates. Only Lee Peacock (25) made any kind of contribution.

Jones’ brilliant ton came off 162 balls and was the main reason Deeping managed to bat out their overs.

They finished on 198-7, meaning Hartsholme took a winning draw (seven).

Deeping now face a crunch trip to leaders Bracebridge Heath on Saturday, while Bourne make the journey to Hartsholme (12.30pm).

l Results: Boston 218, Skegness 201; Grimsby 227-9 (Morgan 72, Snell 51), Bourne 200 (Louth 83, Linde 5-52); Bracebridge Heath 229 (Wright 59, Houston 53), Louth 152 (Shiroman 62); Hartsholme 259-9 (Spence 94, Wilkinson 65, Andrews 6-69), Market Deeping 198-7 (Jones 103no); Lindum 114, Sleaford 115-6; Nettleham 154 (Manby 50), Woodhall Spa 155-6 (Evison 80).