CRICKET: Town prove they belong in big time

RUN CHASE: James Bentley looks on as Spalding chip away at their target. Photo (TIM WILSON) SG040513-603TW
RUN CHASE: James Bentley looks on as Spalding chip away at their target. Photo (TIM WILSON) SG040513-603TW
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Bracebridge Heath (118) lost to Spalding (121-6) by 4 wickets: Spalding really proved that they belong in the Lincs ECB Premier League after Saturday’s stunning success over Bracebridge Heath.

Spalding really proved that they belong in the Lincs ECB Premier League after Saturday’s stunning success over Bracebridge Heath.

Having lost their opening two games comprehensively, promoted Town announced themselves on the big stage in the best possible way against the eight-time champions at Spalding Grammar School.

A devastating all-round performance from Campbell Light, who took 7-40 and scored 42 runs, was the catalyst for the momentous victory – but skipper Rob Ambrose was keen to keep the team’s feet on the ground.

He said: “To beat a side with the quality and reputation that Bracebridge have is great for Spalding Town Cricket Club.

“I think the lads have lacked a bit of belief so far this season, so I’m hoping that this win will help with that.

“That was as good a spell of bowling as I have seen for a while from Campbell. He bowled full and straight at new batsmen and got his rewards.

“We are not going to get carried away and we know that we have an awful lot of hard work ahead of us to stay in this league – starting away at league leaders Louth on Saturday.”

Bracebridge won the toss and decided to bat first on a great looking Grammar School track.

With only one over bowled, players had to run for cover for a very sharp storm which delayed proceedings for an hour.

When the players returned to the field, Bracebridge began to take control of the game with Nick John and James Bentley punishing anything loose from the bowlers.

But Michael Kearns (1-25) made the first breakthrough for Town, having Bentley (5) caught behind by Joe Broomfield. Lincolnshire captain Brett Houston then joined John at the crease and the pair looked in ominous form, with John passing his half century.

At 95-1 after 25 overs the signs were not looking good for Town – but the next hour was to shape the whole of the game with Light putting in an unbelievable spell of bowling.

The Zimbabwean bowled with great pace and accuracy and the wickets started to tumble.

Light was not only in the wickets for his bowling, as he also got the important scalp of skipper Paul Cook (5) with a brilliant direct hit run out.

By the time his 9.4 over spell was complete, Bracebridge had capitulated from 95-1 to 118 all out after 30 overs, giving Town 70 overs to reach the target.

Despite their obvious advantage, Spalding knew they were still very much in a game as Bracebridge are renowned for the pressure they can apply on teams.

The start was always going to be important for Town and Warren Nel and Rob Ambrose got them off to a solid one, taking the score onto 42 with both players looking in good form.

However, Spalding then had a crazy half hour as Ambrose and Nel collided while taking a run and the Town captain was run out for five.

Number three Josh Newton and Nel then oversaw another run out, with Nel departing for 35.

Newton (3) was soon dismissed by a brilliant catch by Ryan Watson at point and Charlie Kearns (2) was next to go, leaving Town wobbling on 68-4.

With Spalding on the brink of collapse, Light once again came to the rescue with a quick-fire 42 that helped relieve the pressure. Although he departed, Ian Smith was able to calmly put the game to bed for Spalding with three fours off consecutive balls to secure the win and send his team-mates into raptures.