Spalding Town (172) lost to Woodhall Spa (173-7) by 3 wickets: Spalding skipper Rob Ambrose was far from downbeat after seeing his side push league Lincs ECB Premier League leaders Woodhall Spa all the way on Saturday.
A pivotal knock of 84 from Warren Nel guided Town to a competitive total of 172 from their 50 overs at Spalding Grammar School.
And although Spa knocked off the runs with three wickets to spare, promoted Spalding took five points from the clash to bring up a century of for the campaign and stay 24 points clear of the bottom two.
Ambrose said: “‘It was disappointing not to win, but we showed great team spirit and determination and managed to pick up five valuable points.
“If we were offered this position in the league at the start of the season we would have snapped your hand off.”
On a dull, cloudy day Woodhall won the toss and elected to bowl. Spalding got off to a bad start and crawled to 50-5 off 20 overs, with pedestrian medium pace bowler Ben O’Brien (3-37) inflicting most of the damage.
However, soldier of fortune Nel dug in with a dogged knock and Charlie Kearns dropped anchor at the other end in a bid to set a respectable total.
The pair took the score to 140 before Kearns carved a doosra from Sri Lanka Test player Prasanna Jayawardene to long off for 29.
Spalding ended up with 172 all out off their 50 overs with the ever impressive Maxwell Cusack being the last man out taking a suicidal run to short leg. Nel top scored with 84, including five fours and three sixes – one of which flew over Ayscoughee and into the river.
In reply, Woodhall got off to a good start with Jonny Cheer smearing the ball all over the park. The breakthrough finally came with the score on 76 when dangerman Cheer (43) was caught behind off Charlie Kearns by a superb one handed diving catch by Joe Broomfield.
Sam Evison (39) continued to slice the ball in the air, but into the gaps, until he was eventually run out by fielding dynamo Maxwell Cusack.
Next in was star man Jayawardene – but he didn’t last long, with Michael Kearns quickly snaring him for just nine.
But, despite the best efforts of Charlie Kearns (2-49), Michael Kearns (2-46) and Nel (2-46), Woodhall keeper Jack Hughes slammed his way to 38 not out to guide his team to a tense three-wicket victory with 2.1 overs to spare.
Next up for Town is a trip to South Lincolnshire rivals Bourne on Saturday (12.30pm).
Charlie Kearns and veteran Chris Dring are both unavailable, but Spalding are boosted by the expected debut of new overseas talent Nabeel Bhayla.
The South African all-rounder, who has been drafted in to replace the departed Campbell Light, arrives in England this week and should feature at the Abbey Lawn.