Outperformed in all aspects of game

Jon Cheer.
Jon Cheer.

Saturday was a day that proved why Sleaford will be competing for the Lincs ECB Premier title and why Boston will be looking to top the bottom half of a mini-league.

Sleaford out-performed Boston in all aspects of the game and bastman Obus Pienaar - although trapped lbw by Scott Elleray for 31 - struck the 10 runs required to hit the fastest 1,000 runs in the league’s history.

But as Pienaar returned to the pavilion, Thomas Shorthouse stepped up and struck 162 runs.

On a hot summer’s day, Boston’s stand-in captain Ryan Croom won the toss and surprised Sleaford captain Shorthouse by electing to field.

“The reasons behind fielding were quite simple,” said Croom.

“We wanted to get some points out of the game and the way the points system is set up, bowling first allows you a better opportunity.”

Shorthouse and Matthew Mountain opened up for Sleaford and found the boundary with ease on a regular basis.

A 93-run partnership saw Boston put on the back foot from the off, and it wasn’t until Riley Orr bowled Mountain that Boston really looked like getting a wicket.

The wicket of Mountain brought the in-form Pienaar to the crease.

He required 10 runs for 1,000 for the season and that happened without much fuss.

The pair were happy to push the ball around, run hard and punish the bad balls - and that helped Sleaford build another healthy partnership.

For the first time in a while, Pienaar was dismissed, Elleray claiming the scalp.

With Shorthouse 83 not out at the time, Boston were in need of his wicket if they were to keep Sleaford within sight.

Andy Hibberd fell for a duck and Boston had picked up their first bowling point.

As Boston started to sniff a mini-revival, Oliver Burford and Shorthouse went on to produce a quick 50-run partnership and saw Sleaford to maximum batting points.

It was now a case of how many could Sleaford get before they ran out of overs.

Burford fell to Elleray, caught behind by Tom Poole, and then the runs started to dry up from one end as Shorthouse took over, single-handedly taking the attack to the Boston bowlers.

Oliver Bean, Camer Hall and Angus Youles added eight runs between them.

However, Shorthouse’s innings picked up pace and it wasn’t until a fantastic running catch by Croom at deep mid-wicket, following Elleray’s deliver, that Shorthouse was removed for 162 from 148 balls.

“It was a top innings that really took the game away from us,” Croom reflected afterwards.

A few boundaries to end the innings saw Sleaford post 308-8 from their 50 overs and, at the halfway stage, Boston had picked up three bowling points.

“It was difficult out there,” Croom continued.

“We didn’t bowl too well early on and as the bowling improved, the fielding dropped off.

“We were poor in the field and let them get more than they should have done.”

After the tea interval, Boston set about the task in hand.

They steadily built a start before Poole was trapped LBW by Smith for 12 and Boston were on 25-1.

Kieran Evans and Dave Newman were then tasked with building the innings and pushed Boston to 84-1 before Evans fell, being stumped by Bean off the bowling of Youles for 22.

Newman was joined by Boston’s main run-getter Jon Cheer.

A mix-up between the pair saw Newman run-out by Hibberd for 48.

At that point, Boston seemed resigned to not getting near the total and were all about getting as many points from the game as possible.

That wasn’t helped when Liam Sparke, Croom and Peter Mitchell fell to leave Boston on 140-6.

With Cheer at the other end, Boston always hold some hope and a fantastic, yet rather subdued innings edged Boston towards batting points that were much needed.

It was that man Cheer that found the boundary in the final over to edge Boston to 200, and their fourth batting point.

With two dot balls to end the innings, Cheer ended 65 not out and Boston ended 108 runs short of Sleaford, picking up eight points in the process.

“We go into every game wanting to win it, but many sides have played Sleaford this season and picked up less than eight points,” Croom added.

“They were the better side and they will be the better side over the season.”

Boston’s man of the match was chosen by the matchball sponsor Andy Dickinson.

Andy chose Cheer for his maturely-produced 65 not out, although the game’s man of the match obviously went to Tom Shorthouse for his 162 runs and three wickets.