Spalding Town 1st (142) beat Stamford 1st (139) by three runs: STELLAR bowling and fielding proved key as Spalding went clear at the top of the South Lincs and Border League Division One standings on Saturday.
In truth, Town were very lucky to come away from Stamford with a win after securing a nail-biting three-run victory over their hosts.
Having only posted 142 batting first, skipper Rob Ambrose admitted that his side were indebted to the bowling attack.
He said: “Obviously it’s great to win the tight games, but we shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. Apart from the openers, I think we batted poorly.
“Our fielding and bowling was great once again and saved us in the end. I hope we can improve for next week, we have another hard game against our local rivals Moulton, which we are all looking forward to.”
After losing the toss, Ambrose’s side were asked to bat first on what looked like a decent pitch. Once again Matt Hendry and Mike Kearns were in good form, getting Town off to a flying start with boundaries coming at regular intervals.
The pairing took the score to 76 before Kearns (20) was out LBW. The game then swung Stamford’s way with the introduction of the experienced Steve Armstrong (5-49). The off spinner removed the dangerous Hendry for 46 – and with the impressive Dave Piggott (4-38) bowling a very good line at the other end, wickets began to tumble.
Town’s only only real resistance came from Ansar Hussain, who scored a gutsy 21 to try and edge Town to a respectable total. They were eventually dismissed for what looked like a very gettable 142 in 37 overs.
After a few encouraging words at tea from skipper Ambrose, Town knew they’d have to be on top of their game to get a positive result.
After Jack Barratt (1-9) and Charlie Kearns (3-40) had bamboozled two of Stamford’s top three inside the first six overs, Spalding sensed that the game was well and truly on.
Stamford skipper Andy Hulme (33) and Piggott (19) started to edge the hosts towards victory, but the introduction of spin twins Hussain (3-31) and Tim Norris (1-23) helped get Town back into the game.
With Town taking wickets and Stamford still scoring – but down to their last pair – the game moved to a thrilling finish.
Armstong and Bill Hall needed 28 runs for victory and started to chip away at the total, but Charlie Kearns was the hero Town were looking for as he removed Hall with the last ball of his spell to leave Stamford stranded on 139.
M Kearns Snr LBW b Piggott 20
M Hendry c White b Armstrong 46
J Newton b Piggott 2
C Kearns st Hulme b Armstrong 1
T Norris c Bennett b Armstrong 6
A Hussain st Hulme b Armstrong 21
R Ambrose st Hulme b Armstrong 7
S Juckes st Hulme b Piggott 12
L Whitworth b Piggott 1
J Juckes st Hulme b Lem 2
J Barratt not out 9
Extras (1b, 3lb, 11w) 15
Total (all out, 36.4 overs) 142
• Bowling: Hall 6-2-24-0; White 4-0-17-0; Armstrong 12-2-49-5; Piggott 12-1-38-4; Bennett 2-0-2-0; Lem 0.4-0-7-1.
D Piggott c Barratt b Norris 19
B Bennett b Barratt 1
N Williams c Ambrose b C Kearns 1
A Hulme LBW b J Juckes 33
S Holland LBW b Hussain 14
S Lem c M Kearns b C Kearns 19
P Holland b Hussain 4
B Bennett b Juckes 4
A White c Newton b Hussain 0
S Armstrong not out 23
B Hall b C Kearns 1
Extras (2b, 1lb, 15w, 2nb) 20
Total (all out, 41.4 overs) 139
• Bowling: Kearns 11.4-2-40-3; Barratt 3-0-9-1; Hussain 12-3-31-3; Norris 6-1-23-1; Juckes 9-1-33-2.