A nailbiting finale saw Boston CC give their hopes of finishing off the foot of the Lincs ECB Premier table a massive boost.
They travelled to second-bottom Louth in search of a much-needed win on Saturday and came back with 18 points, claiming their one-wicket victory off the penultimate ball of the final over.
With Tom Baxter unavailable, vice-captain Jonny Cheer looked to maintain his 100 per cent success rate in the role this season.
Louth won the toss and perhaps surprisingly elected to bat first, their side being strengthened by the recent addition of a couple of players from Alford, who had withdrawn from the league.
The opening bowlers of Adeesha Thilanchana and Tim Bell bowled very well early on with both beating the bat at regular intervals as Louth found runs hard to come by.
Scott Elleray removed opener West for 28 in the 27th over with the score on 76. The evergreen Paul Deans removed their overseas player Perera for 15 thanks to a smart catch by Peter Mitchell behind the stumps.
When Bell came back to remove his namesake Bell, who had been dropped twice for 53, it was hoped that Boston could keep the score down below 200.
But with wickets in hand Louth rode their luck and finally finished on 209-7 at the end of their allotted 50 overs.
Openers Elleray and Will Tetther set about getting Boston off to a good start, but after Elleray was bowled for seven in the third over Jonny Cheer joined Tetther as they put on 75 for the second wicket before Tetther was caught at long on for a valuable 23.
Cheer went on to play his usual innings of class and composure and, as wickets began to fall around him, he played a real captain’s innings, taking Boston to within sight of victorywith an excellent 91, which included 10 fours and one massive 6 into the car park.
At 181-8 there was still work to be done but, with Paul Tetther at the crease, he used his experience to guide the side home with an assured 19 not out and a valuable 18 points to close the gap on Louth at the bottom of the table to 13 points with Boston having a game in hand.
“It was an important victory at this stage of the season considering the availability issues we faced with four regular first teamers out, but the performances from those that came in was a credit to the club,” said Cheer.
In the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division, Freiston, Leake and Leverton secured their eighth victory of the season with a hard-fought success over a strong Grantham Seconds team.
Abdul Moeed made 57 for the hosts, before Ollie Booth took four wickets.
Zeeshan Saeed gave Freiston an exciting start as he struck a quickfire 28.
Dobson picked up two quick wickets, and when Stevenson bowled Richard Paul for six in his first over, Freiston were reduced to 50-4.
Usman Ahmed made 20 for Freiston, but at 78-6 the innings was at risk of collapse.
Abdul Moeed was well supported by the lower order to add a further 75 for the final four wickets.
Moeed was the star, with a superbly paced innings. His second 50 of the season took Freiston to a very competitive 153 on a surface which wasn’t easy for batting.
Freiston made full use of the new ball as they reduced the visitors to 37-4.
Ollie Booth picked up three wickets in his opening spell, whilst Taimur Mian also claimed a wicket.
Grantham fought back with an excellent 49-run partnership for the fifth wicket between J. Fell and Dobson. The partnership was ended by an excellent catch from Ahmed to dismiss Dobson for 25.
Fell was trapped LBW by Moeed for 27, as Freiston looked to have seized the initiative. Grantham captain Bennett was run out for 18, as Freiston kept their cool.
Freiston’s fielding was very good, with excellent catches from Tommy Atkinson and Moeed leading to Grantham being nine down.
Zeeshan Hassan, who had bowled a superb economical spell, claimed the final wicket by clean bowling Kumar, to secure victory for Freiston by 18 runs.
The victory cements Freiston’s fifth position in the table, and they host Boston Seconds next weekend.
Graves Park CC picked up a vital 18 points with a 95-run success at Sleaford Seconds.
They remain bottom of the Premier Division table but sit three points behind Billingborough and, now, 32 off safety.
Chris King hit a superb unbeaten 121 for the Park, who ended their innings on 282-2.
Jack Ashton (71 not out), John Morris (53) and Joe Gilbert (20) added to the total.
Sleaford ended their innings on 187-7, Ashton, Ryan Lawson and Martin Hodgson taking two wickets each.
Boston Seconds were beaten by 89 runs when second-place Spalding visited.
Damian Lawson claimed six wickets for the l;oss of 31 runs as Spalding ended their 45 overs on 184-9.
Boston, however, were dismissed for 95, Sisa Tuntulwana top scoring with 19.
In the SLBL Division One, Boston Thirds suffered an eight-wicket loss at home to Stamford.
Rowan Evans (27) top scored as Boston were dismissed for 61.
Stamford reached 65-2 in the eighth over.
In the SLBL Division Two, Freiston Seconds suffered a disappointing day at home to Billingborough as they were bowled out for just 38.
Batting first Billingborough made 211, with Bill Sadler making an unbeaten 93.
JP Horton and Danny Lumley bowled impressive opening spells for Freiston, whilst Sandeep Singh claimed the best figures with 2-39.
In reply, Freiston were blown away by the visitors impressive bowling attack.
Nobody made double figures for Freiston with Jon Mellors and Bonakeli Njovana both making nine.
Boston Sunday Firsts got the better of Revesby Firsts at the Mayflower in their Lincoln and District League Premier Division contest.
Michael Ridding’s 11 was the only double-figure score for the away side as they were dismissed for 45 in the 24th over.
Tim Bell and Ben Troops took four wickets apiece before Peter Mitchell (15 not out) and Mahir Yousuff (13) top scored as the hosts reached 48-4 in the 10th over.
Simon May took two Boston wickets.