Baxter leads fightback following a slow start

Tom Baxter.
Tom Baxter.

Boston Cricket Club Firsts claimed an 82-run victory at Belton Park on Saturday.

The Mayflower men picked up a 19-point haul, but their lead at the top of the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division was cut to 21 points as rivals Bourne Seconds picked up a maximum 20.

The coin came down in favour of Belton Park and they opted to bowl first, inserting Boston into bat on what looked, a tricky pitch.

Dave Newman, Kieran Evans, Ben Vella and Ryan Croom were all back in the pavilion in the first eight overs as Boston struggled to 45-4.

With Matthew Hood, Saihan Azim and Sam Elliott missing, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Boston would be dismissed very cheaply.

However, Tom Baxter and Peter Mitchell worked hard at the crease and slowly tried to re-build the Boston innings, but Mitchell was dismissed for 14 in the 15th over, leaving Boston on 77-5.

“It was bizarre. We were five down but still scoring at five runs per over,” said captain Baxter.

Baxter was joined by William Tetther in another steady partnership which edged Boston past 100 and, until a mis-communication with the score on 111 when Tetther was run out, Boston looked to be on task for a better total than first imagined.

With Scott Elleray joining Baxter, he showed great maturity and a much needed 60-run partnership followed.

With Elleray finding the odd boundary and Baxter trying to rotate the strike, Boston looked to have gained more control.

Baxter was then dismissed after clipping one to long-on off the bowling of Luke Pollard for 38.

Elleray soon followed for a very important 37 before two more quick wickets left Boston all out for 184 before the end of the 40th over.

“In the end it was a great total,” Baxter added. “After being four down in eight overs, we’d have taken 184.

“Great credit must go to Mitchell, Tetther and Elleray who worked hard at the crease and showed great application in a time of need.”

Elleray and Hewitt opened the bowling in the absence of Elliott.

Although an opening 15 overs from the pair didn’t bring a maiden, there were four dismissals.

With the top four back in the pavilion and Belton on 47-4 the hosts’ innings looked to be mirroring Boston’s.

The wickets were shared evenly between the pair, Elleray’s coming from a fast bouncer and a ball that was too quick for Rohan Perera.

Hewitt bowled Daniel Reynolds early on and dismissed Matthew Law after a wonderful diving one-handed catch from stand-in keeper Croom.

“Elleray and Hewitt bowled with great discipline and built pressure with dot balls,” Baxter reflected.

With Baxter introducing himself into the attack, the game turned even further into Boston’s favour as he picked up a wicket first ball.

Vella then entered the attack, immediately picking up a wicket leaving Belton reeling at 65-6.

Baxter picked up three more wickets, dismissing Alex Wheeler, Thomas Ward and Max Hubbard.

A rear-guard action from Alan Ward and Pollard halted the victory but Vella eventually bowled Ward, bowling Belton out for 102.

Baxter was the pick of the bowlers with a tremendous 4-8 from his eight overs and, added to his high score, was named Man of the Match.