Liam adds Sparke but match is abandoned

Liam Sparke.

Liam Sparke.

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Lincs ECB Premier

Boston v Grantham - match abandoned

Boston CC Firsts sit eighth in the Lincs ECB Premier following Saturday’s abandonment against Grantham.

With Jonny Cheer, Tim Bell, Scott Elleray and Saihan Azim all returning to the Boston side but captain Tom Baxter unavailable due to injury, there were plenty of changes following last week’s defeat to Louth.

When stand-in captain Ryan Croom lost the toss, the Grantham skipper had no hesitation in inserting Boston, asking them to bat first.

Grantham soon had a breakthrough when Daniel Freeman found the edge of Dave Newman’s bat and Matthew Wing took the catch to leave Boston on 4-1.

Slowly, Tom Poole and Kieran Evans attempted to re-build the innings.

The Grantham bowlers made it very difficult to score and the Boston batsmen had to work for every run.

When Poole was bowled by the off-spin of Neil Stevenson for 10, Boston were 40-2.

Cheer joined Evans and, again, attempted to move the scoreboard along.

They did so until two quick wickets, both Evans and Cheer, fell, leaving Boston 66-4.

Both of these went to Danny Ashley’s medium pace.

“From the sidelines, it was clear it was difficult to score but we needed to find a way of getting some runs on the board,” Baxter said.

“They bowled very well.”

Ryan Croom joined Liam Sparke and the pair set about rotating the strike and picking up every single run that was on offer.

With some aggressive running, and well-timed strokes, the pair managed to create a bit of momentum, adding 50 for the fifth wicket.

Croom was bowled for 22, before Peter Mitchell was caught behind off the bowling of Joe Peck, and then Sparke fell for an innings high-score of 39 and Boston were 136-7.

“We had six overs remaining and desperately needed some late runs to give us a chance in this game,” Baxter continued.

Azim (27 not out) and Elleray (17) took a much more aggressive approach and Boston managed to post 186-9 from their 50 overs, which included the final ball of the innings going for three leg byes, after a shy at the stumps led to two over-throws.

“It was still below par,” said Baxter. “However, they bowled really well for 40 overs and it could have been much less than that.

“We had a total that we thought we could defend but would need early wickets.”

With the ball, Orr and Bell were the two chosen to attack the Grantham batsmen.

Orr removed Lincolnshire opener Ross Carnelly for four after a smart catch from Croom at second slip.

A few overs later and Bell had picked up the wicket of Peck.

Grantham were 6-2 and there would have been hope in the Boston camp.

However, James Dobson and Freeman had other ideas.

They both batted sensibly and patiently and waited for the bad balls.

Although Dobson didn’t look fully in control during his innings, he chose his balls wisely.

Dobson managed to edge Elleray behind and was smartly taken at slip by Cheer for 34.

Freeman was joined by Daniel Webb and at drinks, a strike of lightning saw the players have to leave the field for 40 minutes.

“It’s a new law this year and something that clearly won’t happen very often and it’s happened in our games the last two weeks,” Baxter added.

After the 40 minute break, Grantham would have wanted to chase these down as quickly as possible.

Freeman became more aggressive but that was after the loss of Webb, run-out by Sparke taking a third run, leaving Grantham 116-4.

Boston knew that two more wickets here would swing the game in their favour.

However, Freeman and Ben Powell batted very well and edged Grantham closer to a vital victory in their hunt for top spot.

As the dark clouds moved in and the light moved out, it became very difficult to pick the ball up from beyond the boundary.

The heavens opened and the players left the field for a third time with Grantham requiring 17 runs to win.

As the rain continued to pour down, the umpires ordered an 8.15pm pitch inspection that resulted in an abandoned match.

Boston picked up 10 points and Grantham 11 points.

Boston’s man of the match, chosen by the matchball sponsor, White Hart Hotel was Liam Sparke.

However, the overall man of the match had to be given to Grantham’s captain Freeman.

He ended the contest with bowling figures of 5-52 and 90 unbeaten runs.