Town secure victory with one ball to spare

Cricket News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk/sport, @FreePressSport on Twitter

Cricket News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk/sport, @FreePressSport on Twitter

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Spalding Town pulled off an excellent win at fourth-placed Louth as Ben Smith hit a four off the penultimate ball of the match.

In glorious conditions, Spalding skipper Rob Ambrose won the toss and elected to field on what seemed a flat, but slow, wicket which was unlikely to change much throughout the day.

With the injured Wimanga Perera unable to bowl, Ambrose threw the new ball to Jack Barratt alongside Charlie Kearns.

Kearns caused the Louth openers trouble early on with some controlled new ball bowling, and he was finally rewarded for his perseverance when he bowled the dangerous Stewart West for nine.

Laurence Scott (26) and John Medler (55) continued to frustrate Town until Tom Dale, recalled to the first XI, made a breakthrough.

He claimed the wicket of Scott, thanks to a smart catch by Ambrose behind the stumps.

This bought the in-form Amila Wettasinghe to the crease and it took no time for him to show his attacking intent as he hit spinner Nuwan Jayasena for 14 in one over.

Wettasinghe (53) brought up his 50 in quick time, but Jayasena got revenge by bowling his fellow Sri Lankan with a clever delivery.

That gave Town the lift they needed as Mahesh Rajaratne and Jayasena claimed the wickets of Henry Tye and Graeme West in quick succession.

Tom Corden (39 not out) and John Medler (55) regained some control for Louth until the latter finally departed off the bowling of Kearns.

A late flurry of runs took Louth past the 225 mark, posting a tricky total for Town to chase.

Rajaratne and Warren Nel continued their solid opening partnership, with the former playing some flamboyant strokes to give Town a positive start.

His innings came to an end as he was caught at long off for 29 when attempting to clear the ropes off the bowling of Wettasinghe.

This brought Josh Newton to the crease with the score at 39 for one and it was evident that the pitch was becoming slower, making it more difficult for Nel and Newton to score runs at the required rate.

Some tidy bowling accompanied with smart field placings by Louth made the innings of both Nel and Newton even more admirable as runs were hard to come by.

Both reached their half-centuries with Louth’s total in sight, as Town continued to push for the win.

Nel took the initiative with some quality batting, which was complemented by some hard running by Newton.

One big over took Nel into the nineties, where his hard work was undone as he was caught on the boundary for an unselfish 99 off the bowing of Carrington.

Newton was joined at the crease by Jayasena to attempt some attacking impetus.

But it was Newton who put Town in the ascendency by hitting Wettasinghe for 14 in one over.

Jayasena was unfortunately run-out trying to scamper a quick single to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Newton (85 not out) produced a superb innings but Town still required seven runs off the final over.

Three runs came from the first four balls of the over before Smith played a risky shot to manoeuvre the ball down the leg side for four to give Town a memorable victory with a ball to spare.