CRICKET: Juckes predicting upturn in Town form

Five-fer: Heath Ripley starred for Spalding 2nd on Saturday - but finished on the losing side.
Five-fer: Heath Ripley starred for Spalding 2nd on Saturday - but finished on the losing side.
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Woodhall Spa 2nd (223-2) drew with Spalding 1st 223: SIMON Juckes praised his side after they fell agonisingly short of a memorable victory in South Lincs and Border League Division One on Saturday.

After losing their first two league fixtures of the season, Town were staring down the barrel at a third straight loss having been set 224 to win at Woodhall Spa.

However, a real team effort left Spalding needing just one run off the last ball to win. But youngster Chris Green saw his stumps destroyed, leaving the scores tied and the spoils shared.

Spalding skipper Juckes was pleased to stop the run of losses – and predicted an upturn in form for his charges.

He said: “I’m very pleased to chase 223 down with most batsmen making runs.

“But we fell just fell one run short. We are playing better each week and I believe the wins are just around the corner.”

Town would have taken a tie earlier on, as Woodhall’s Nick Stone (65no) and Rob Bee (106no) looked capable of getting much more than the 223-2 posted.

That was largely down to the excellent Jamie Juckes and Mike Kearns Jnr, who bowled well to restrict the home side to a much more achievable – but still tough – total.

Town lost Kearns Jnr (0) early on and looked in trouble straight away, but Matt Hendry (47) batted well with Simon Juckes (28) and Rob Ambrose (32) steadied the innings and gave Spalding a chance.

With the middle order making up the runs and keeping up with the rate, it was wickets that were running out, with Jamie Juckes (26), Keith De Keyser (16) and Lewis Martin (10) all falling.

Spalding needed 30 off of the last four overs with just two wickets in hand, but Jack Barrett (20no) took them within touching distance of glory.

However, the last ball fell to tail-ender Green and he was cleaned up by Steve Hughes to end a thrilling battle.

Division Two

Skegness 2nd (152) beat Spalding 2nd (85) by 67 runs

HEATH Ripley’s fantastic five-wicket haul couldn’t prevent Spalding from slipping to this defeat on Saturday.

Weakened by a number of missing players for their first league game of the season, Spalding were made to field first – but they got off to a perfect start with Carl Lamming (1-19) dismissing Alistair Ainsworth for a duck and Ripley (5-25) bowling Steve O’Dare (10).

After slumping to 25-3, Daniel Nuttall (54) and Mark Elsom (41) led the Skegness recovery before Jim Clarke (2-15) bowled Elsom and a mix-up resulted in the wicket of Nuttall.

Ripley then polished off the tail, taking the wickets of Marcello Santini and George Houlden in consecutive balls and bowling youngster Sam Rowden for 10 to complete the innings.

Steve Lloyds struck 31 in reply for Spalding, who lost wickets at regular intervals, with Clarke (5) the first to go, bowled by Nuttall.

Chris Crane (4) then followed, being caught behind off the same bowler, as Spalding collapsed to 58-8 after some accurate bowling from O’Dare (4-15) and Sam Richardson (4-22).

Ripley then offered some resistance with a hard fought 14 batting with the tail, but Richardson condemned Town to defeat when Kingsley Ripley was caught at mid-off for nine.

Division Three

North Luffenham (183-6) beat Pinchbeck (153) by 30 runs

PINCHBECK’S Danny Jackson ran out of partners as he bravely tried to run down North Luffenham’s formidable total of 183 in difficult batting conditions.

A strong wind blew across the sloping pitch as North Luffenham made steady progress after electing to bat first.

David Brew (38) held the innings together as Pinchbeck produced a fine fielding display, with Gary Neumann and debutant Matt Grange saving many valuable runs in the covers.

Opening bowlers James Langford (2-34) and Andrew Beeston (1-24) bowled a tight line as they restricted the home team to 62 -2 as the teams stopped for drinks halfway through their 45 overs.

Steve Robinson (2-37) then came on to bowl and took two quick wickets, but Luffenham refused to collapse.

The dangerous pairing of Woody Hodson (35) and Andrew Sherriff (40no) produced an awesome display of big hitting, which threatened to take the total past 200– only to be restricted to 183-6.

Pinchbeck made a brisk start to the innings despite losing Dave Wallder (1) early on, with Mike Knight making a spectacular but brief 37, including two huge sixes.

This brought Jackson (48no) to the crease and he anchored the innings well, as Pinchbeck made good progress.

But changes in the bowling brought the impressive partnership of Hodson (3-52) and Brew (4-13) to bear on Pinchbeck’s lower order.

The tail offered stiff resistance, but Jackson was left stranded in the middle as his side fell 30 runs short.