Firsts stretch their lead at top of the SLBL table

Boston Cricket Club 1st team player Kieran Evans.
Boston Cricket Club 1st team player Kieran Evans.

Boston Cricket Club’s First XI stretched their lead at the top of the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division to 22 points.

Ben Vella claimed five victims and Kieran Evans top-scored with 42 runs as Boston returned from mid-table Long Sutton with a seven-wicket victory.

The coin came down in captain Tom Baxter’s favour and he had no hesitation in bowling first on a bowler-friendly wicket.

Scott Elleray and Sam Elliott started really well and made scoring very difficult for Phil Barnes and James Wright, with six maidens being bowled in the first 12 overs.

Boston definitely held the upper hand as Long Sutton sat at 16-0 off 14 overs.

The introduction of Andrew Hewitt into the attack saw him remove Wright for 12 with a smart caught and bowled.

Elliott was removed from the attack after his eight overs, only conceding 14 runs.

The introduction of Baxter into attack saw Barnes removed for 26 after a great catch behind the stumps from Matthew Hood.

After a very good spell of five overs from Hewitt, Baxter decided to remove him from the attack and introduce Vella.

“It was harsh on Chewy (Hewitt) but I just thought a change was needed,” Baxter said.

“It turned out looking a great decision in the end, but we have lots of bowling options and it could have changed again on another day.”

The introduction of Vella proved a great decision as he removed Adam Wright and Matthew Bull for five and zero respectively.

Baxter then picked up his second wicket, bowling Mark Woodall for three.

After that, it was the Vella show as he went on to remove three more Long Sutton batsmen to end with figures of 5-25 from his 11 overs.

With Long Sutton reeling on 74-7, Barry Stanway entered the game and attempted to get Long Sutton some quick runs.

His 18 from 14 balls entertained the viewing spectators until he mis-timed an Elleray bouncer straight to Baxter on the boundary.

Elleray’s wicket kept him joint leading wicket taker in the league.

Long Sutton ended their innings 108-9 from their 45 overs.

“It was disappointing not to bowl them out but sometimes that happens,” added Baxter.

“They showed no interest in scoring runs for large periods of the innings and just shut up shop at times.

“However, credit must go to the five bowlers, as it was one of our best team efforts with the ball this year.

“I was pleased for Ben today. He’s come over here and taken a few weeks to settle to English pitches but today, he got his rewards for his hard work.”

After the tea interval, things could have started better for Boston as Hood was back in the pavilion with the score on five, edging behind off the bowling of Stanway.

As a partnership started to build, Dave Newman was bowled by Stanway with the score on 33.

Ryan Croom joined Evans at the crease and the pair, like the last one, started to build a steady partnership until Croom was undone by the clever bowling of Rob Simpson.

Croom mis-timed his shot straight to point as he was dismissed for 21.

With Evans continuing on, Vella came in and took the game to Sutton’s bowlers as he scored a run a ball 25 not out to see Boston over the line.

“To win the game before drinks is an impressive chase. We batted sensibly and waited for the bad balls,” added Baxter.

Boston’s seven-wicket victory saw them pick up 19 points to continue at the top of the South Lincs and Border Premier Division.

With second-placed Sleaford not having a game, they slipped to third, with Bourne moving up a place.

Ben Vella was named man of the match.