Louth (243) lost to Spalding Town (195) by 48 runs: Town were left with a bitter taste in their mouths on Saturday after the controversial last-over dismissal of Ansar Hussain cost them vital points.
Having bowled visitors Louth out for 243 on a flat Spalding Grammar School pitch, Town were happy enough to collected eight points from the clash.
A collapse then saw the hosts reduced to 167-9, but Hussain (21) and Jack Barratt (19 not out) looked set to ground out a losing draw.
They took the Spalding reply into the final over, before Hussain was adjudged to have edged behind off the bowling of Laurence Scott.
The Town all-rounder was adamant that he hadn’t hit the ball – but with no DRS available, he had to go.
A downbeat Hussain said: “I am an honest man and I did not hit the ball.
“The ball turned sharply to the first slip off the pitch and my bat hit my pad.”
Louth won the toss on a pitch as flat as the A17 and elected to bat first in what was a relegation battle of sorts.
They got off to a good start and put on 69 for the first wicket before all-rounder Warren Nel dispatched both openers to the pavilion.
Spalding continued to pick up regular wickets, but Louth also scored quick runs with John Medler (80) slicing the ball all over the park.
Crucially, Town managed to pick up five bowling points on the last ball of the innings – which left Louth on 243 all out off their 50 overs.
Michael Kearns bowled well and picked up 3-56, while Nel and Charlie Kearns also chipped in with two wickets each.
Spalding got their off reply to a great start with Michael Kearns (29) and Nabeel Bhayla (18) putting on 51 for the first wicket inside ten overs.
Disappointingly for Town, regular wickets fell due to poor shot selection.
Josh Newton (14), Chris Dring (10), Tim Norris (5), Charlie Kearns (5) and Matt Hendry (0) all fell cheaply , but the stubborn Nel dug in and dropped anchor for a tradesman-like innings of 60 off 103 balls.
It was all in vain though, as Town were staring the cold sight of defeat in the face before Hussain and number 11 Barratt came to the crease to share a super stand for the final wicket.
The pair nearly secured a losing draw for Town before Hussain was controversially dismissed, giving Louth a massive victory.
Despite it not being one of their finer showings, Spalding’s eight-point haul edges them further clear of the drop zone after rivals Haxey were battered by Bracebridge Heath.
And Town can extend their 38-point cushion over the defending champions when they visit Haxey this Saturday (12.30pm) for a crunch clash.
Stand-in skipper Newton said: “Despite a poor performance we still managed to pick up eight points.
“These bonus points could prove to be crucial to our survival in the league.”