CRICKET: Spalding on the up despite second loss

READY TO ROLL: Spalding before Saturday's game with Sleaford. Photo by DAVID DAWSON
READY TO ROLL: Spalding before Saturday's game with Sleaford. Photo by DAVID DAWSON
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Spalding Town 1st (192-9) lost to Sleaford 1st (196-4) by six wickets: Town skipper Rob Ambrose took plenty of positives from Saturday’s Sleaford defeat as his side slipped to the bottom of the embryonic Lincs ECB Premier League table.

After losing the toss, impressive batting displays from Warren Nel (58), Campbell Light (45) and Michael Kearns (40) saw promoted Spalding post 192-9 batting first.

Sleaford passed that target for the loss of just four wickets in 44.2 overs to hand Town their second loss on the spin, despite an encouraging debut from teen ace Maxwell Cusack (1-46).

After a disastrous start against Market Deeping the previous week, Ambrose felt this was much more like it from his side.

“It’s certainly an improvement on last week,” said the Spalding skipper. “We managed to put a decent total on the board, which unfortunately wasn’t quite enough.

“This is a very unforgiving league and we made a few errors in the field, which probably cost us a bit. But I cant fault my players for their effort.

“I was really pleased for Max Cusack, the young lad has worked hard since he’s been at the club and I thought he bowled well and deserved his first prem wicket.”

Spalding were asked to bat first after Ambrose once again lost the toss – but this time they started well with Nel and his skipper taking the score to 42 before Ambrose was bowled by Sam Gascoyne for 11.

Josh Newton was undone early by another Gascoyne yorker for a second-ball duck, before Charlie Kearns (10) was run out.

However, Town’s South African Nel looked in great touch against his former side and grabbed his first half century for the club before being snared by the evergreen Nick Goacher for 58.

Wobbling at 96-5, Spalding knew they had to put a score on the board and they were indebted to Light and Micheal Kearns, who worked hard to reach a solid 192-9 at tea.

Town needed early wickets – but were thwarted by Sleaford openers Thomas Shorthouse (85) and Shaun Morris. The pair took the score on to 72 before Morris (23) was bowled by Nel.

Shorthouse was joined by Sleaford captain Olly Burford (33) and the pair carried on chipping away at Town’s total.

Teen ace Max Cusack – bowling for the first time in the Premier League – was very impressive and was rewarded with the wicket of Shorthouse, who was smartly caught by Tim Norris.

Nel (2-56) then bowled Burford with a peach of a ball, but it was all in vain as Sleaford were too close to the Spalding target and Andy Hibberd (18no) and Paul Roberts (25) eased them home.

Town welcome the mighty Bracebridge Heath to Spalding Grammar School this Saturday (12.30pm).