Boston Cricket Club’s First XI suffered their first defeat of the season, losing out by two wickets at title rivals Grantham.
The result saw the Mayflower men slip from top to fourth in the standings, albeit just six points behind leaders Grantham.
Upon Boston’s arrival at Gorse Lane, it was evident that the pitch was going to have a big say in proceedings.
When the coin fell in favour of Grantham skipper Mark Fell, it was always going to be a tough day as Boston were put into bat on a wet, green pitch.
Grantham’s opening bowlers were disciplined and made run-scoring very difficult.
Matthew Hood (one) was first back in the pavillon being dismissed by the experienced Simon Oakes, who then removed Paul Roberts first ball.
Captain Tom Baxter came to the crease but, when the score was on 19, he was dismissed by Joe Peck for six.
As Boston kept trying to re-build, wickets continued to tumble,
Matthew Poole (10) and Luke Gilding (zero) were both removed, leaving Boston on 31-5.
After Kieran Evans (10) was dismissed by Oakes after a ricochet off his arm, leading to a catch to Parmley, it looked like it wasn’t going to be Boston’s day.
Ricky Drury (11) and Tim Bell (seven not out) got stuck in and managed the highest partnership of the innings, adding
21 valuable runs before the introduction of spinner Neil Stevenson saw the end of Drury’s innings, caught behind by the impressive Rory Johnson.
Boston struggled to 63 all out in the 28th over.
“It was a bad pitch but I don’t think it was a 63 all out pitch,” said Baxter.
“On pitches like that you cannot give your wickets away like we did.
“They bowled well and put the ball in the right areas but I still think we gifted at least half of our wickets.”
After the tea interval, Boston knew that nothing short of a miracle would see them pick up a victory in this top-of-the-table clash.
Scott Elleray and Andy Hewitt started aggressively and Hewitt removed Stewart Mudie after he was caught at gully by Elleray.
When fellow opener Fell was removed after a smart catch by Gilding at first slip off Elleray, Grantham only had seven on the board.
Hewitt picked up the big wickets of Martin Parmley and David Whapplington after smart catches by Elleray and Baxter, leaving Grantham on 36-4.
The introduction of Baxter saw more pressure applied as his five overs saw him return figures of 4-6, ripping through the middle order and leaving Grantham at 48-7 and 60-8.
Boston’s hopes of a miracle were all over in the 25th over as Grantham picked up a valuable 20 points, reaching the winning total of 64-8.
“The fight and buzz we had in the field is something we need every week,” Baxter added.
“Whether we have 63 or 263 on the board, we really need that energy in the field.
“It was our best fielding display of the season.”