Wisbech Town 1st (141) beat Spalding Town 1st (129) by 12 runs: NEW-LOOK Town narrowly missed out on a morale-boosting friendly win over higher-graded Wisbech on Sunday.
Chasing a gettable 142 to win amid pretty poor conditions at the home of the Fenmen, a five wicket haul from spinner Gary Freear got the hosts over the line.
There were still plenty of positives for Spalding ahead of their South Lincs and Border League Division One opener at Market Deeping 2nd on Saturday (1pm).
New captain Rob Ambrose and Ansar Hussain batted well as Town looked set to reach their target, while Henry Charlton, Charlie Kearns and Barry Stanway starred with the ball.
Skipper Ambrose said: “Obviously I would have liked to have won the game, but I’m reasonably pleased with how the lads played.
“I thought we bowled and fielded very well, but need to understand that batting on indoor net pitches and early season outdoor pitches are very different.
“I’m sure we can improve next week and go into the first league game confident of trying to get us off to a good start.
“We have three missing already for Saturday, so already some of the lads that were left out of Sundays game will get their chance.”
Ambrose won the toss and chose to put Wisbech into bat – a choice that was quickly vindicated. The captain’s faith in his bowlers was rewarded early on with great opening spells from Stanway and Charlton.
Stanway (2-32) bowled at good pace, while Charlton (2-12) looped it around at the other to helopTown make inroads into the Wisbech line-up.
Kearns (3-17) was another to catch the eye. The new recruit from Deeping bowled with pace and control and was helped by some really good fielding by a very keen Spalding side.
With Matty Effer (52) making the only notable contribution for the Fenmen, Ambrose was very pleased with bowling the home side out for 141.
However, Town got off to a poor start in reply. After losing Matt Hendry second ball, wickets fell at regular intervals with Jon Hastings (3-17) and Adam Meed (2-22) bowling very well at the start of the innings.
Spalding were struggling until Ambrose was joined by the ever-reliable all-rounder Hussain at the wicket. The pair set about trying to chip away at the Wisbech total, before Hussain (28) was unfortunate to chop onto his wicket with Spalding only 25 runs away from victory.
Wisbech skipper Freear (5-9) bowled very well for his side and got the key wicket of Ambrose (21) – albeit to a very dubious caught behind – he all but steered his side to victory.
Spalding’s final three batsmen also fell foul to the spinner, with Town finishing just shy of their target.
Town are one of just four teams to get their league campaign under way on Saturday, with the South Lincs and Border League schedule getting into full swing the following weekend.
D Haynes LBW b Stanway 6
Z Brown LBW b Charlton 3
G Freear b Stanway 17
D Wood c&b Charlton 3
D Stannard c Whitworth b C Kearns 14
M Esser b M Kearns 55
J Gollands b C Kearns 9
I Burgess LBW b C Kearns 0
A Meads c Hendry b Whitworth 6
s Sleath not out 2
J Hastings LBW b Whitworth 3
Extras (11b, 5lb, 6w, 1nb) 23
Total (all out, 43.1 overs) 141
• Bowling: Stanway 8-1-33-2; Charlton 6-2-11-2; J Juckes 6-0-17-0; C Kearns 9-1-20-3; Hussain 3-1-13-0; Whitworth 6.1-1-14-2; M Kearns 5-0-25-1.
J Newton LBW b Hastings 18
M Hendry c Burgess b Hastings 0
M Kearns LBW b Freear 17
C Kearns LBW b Hastings 1
T Norris b Meads 13
H Charlton c Sleath b Freear 5
R Ambrose c Sleath b Freear 20
A Hussain b Meads 29
L Whitworth not out 3
J Juckes b Freear 0
B Stanway b Freear 0
Extras (16b, 2lb, 5w) 23
Total (all out, 39 overs) 129
• Bowling: Hastings 8-1-18-3; Haynes 6-0-22-0; Meads 9-1-32-2; Freear 9-4-9-5; Brown 4-0-15-0; Burgess 3-1-16-0.