Spalding Town (231-6) lost to Market Deeping (234-6) by 4 wickets: All-rounder Warren Nel felt that Spalding were within 20 runs of upsetting title-chasing Deeping in Saturday’s derby duel.
Town posted a competitive 231-6 at Outgang Road, with new signing Nabeel Bhayla (104) cracking his maiden century for the club.
But solid knocks from Chris Jones (88) and Richard Witt (50) set up Deeping’s reply nicely, before some explosive hitting from Tom Andrews (46 from 22 balls) got the hosts over the line.
Nel, who made 31 and took 2-85, admitted that his team-mates knew they had come up just short.
He said: “It was a great game which we were all disappointed to lose. We all felt that we were 20 runs short and maybe if I had ladled the ball round the corner rather than attempting a reverse sweep we may have been able to reach that illusive 250.
“But we are ready to bounce back again next week and steal 20 points from a very strong Sleaford side.”
Spalding, having been put into bat, started slowly with Bhayla (104) and Michael Kearns (57) taking the tally to 10-0 from the first ten overs.
The duo began to find the gaps though, with South African import Bahyla crafting his way to an extremely good ton – which has silenced any doubts about his ability.
Ex-Deeping man Kearns offered a more stubborn resistance, but he was eventually out for a well-earned half-century from 103 balls.
Next in was Nel, who complimented his fellow Springbok well. He worked the ball around the ground nicely, making 31 from just 28 before falling to Mehul Adatia (3-68).
Wickets then began to tumble, with Chris Dring (1), Ansar Hussain (0) and Josh Newton (0)all perishing.
Tim Norris (10 not out) did nail a few vital runs, before Town closed on 231-6.
Much like Spalding’s innings, Deeping benefited from steady progress by their opening duo.
A barrage from Spalding’s opening pair of Jack Barratt (1-33) and Charlie Kearns (1-56) really tested Jones and Witt, with the former very fortunate to reach 50.
He was soon dismissed by Ansar Hussain (1-16), who was one of four spinners used by Town skipper Rob Ambrose.
Nel then got rid of Lee Peacock (3) with a doosra, before Deeping dangerman Dave Gillett was dismissed by Charlie Kearns for 28.
Jones, who played superbly for his 88, eventually fell to Nel and left Deeping requiring 100 to win from the final 14 overs.
Andrews answered the call though, clubbing a rapid 46, including 22 from five Nel deliveries.
Although Barratt returned to dismiss him and Hussain ran out Ali Sharp for 1, Adatia (5no) and Ben Willemson (4no) got Deeping home with seven balls to spare.