Revenge mission allows Firsts to tighten grip

Kieran Evans.
Kieran Evans.

Boston Cricket Club’s march towards the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division title continued against Billingborough.

Saturday’s 10-wicket victory at the Mayflower saw Boston gain revenge over the only team to have beaten them so far this campaign.

They also sit 42 points clear of second-placed Woodhall Spa Seconds with four matches left to go.

Dave Newman, captaining as Tom Baxter overcomes injury, won the toss and elected to bowl.

With Sam Elliott missing, Haffi Mazhar returned to the First XI for the first time in 2015 and was given the new ball, accompanying Scott Elleray.

The opening bowlers were well on top during the period but they couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Chris King and James Rollinson worked hard for Billingborough and punished the occasional bad ball as they slowly moved the scored on.

The introduction of Newman to the attack saw Billingborough try and get after their former teammate and a couple of streaky boundaries could have gone to hand on another day.

Ben Vella entered the attack on his return from a four-week trip around Europe while Andy Hewitt also took the ball.

The pair put the ball in the right area and Vella dismissed both opening batsmen, leaving Billingborough on 63-2 as he clean bowled Rollinson before a smart reactive catch from Kieran Evans at slip brought the wicket of King.

It was soon 64-3 when Hewitt dismissed Shaun Brown after a top catch from Saihan Azim.

With the experienced pairing of Aaron Pullum and Tom Harrison at the crease, the former looked to force the issue.

Vella dismissed Harrison with a beautiful in-swinger before Hewitt picked up the in-form Pullum when he mis-timed his pull shot and it dropped into the ever-reliable Elleray’s hands.

At 89-5 and Boston knew they had to work hard to the end of the innings.

Nathan Garfoot came and went quickly, another catch from Azim saw Vella pick up his fourth wicket.

Elleray and Mazhar returned to the bowling attack and both picked up one wicket apiece.

At 125-9, Boston went searching for the final wicket and two dropped catches took it to the last over when Hewitt was the man to pick up the 10th wicket, the team eventually bowling Billingborough out for 139.

Vella’s 4-34 and Hewitt’s 3-39 made the headlines but Elleray and Mazhar bowled 22 overs between them for a measly 43 runs.

After the tea interval, everyone associated with Boston would have been rather positive of chasing down 139 for another 20 points - but nobody would have expected what happened next.

Evans and Newman set about making a firm and controlled start but the bad balls came down and the pair punished them finding the boundary with ease.

Both the batsmen took the bowling on and reached their 50s off 34 balls. Evans went on to end the innings 79 not out from 56 balls, an innings that included 13 boundaries and one maximum and was also the highest score in the division on the day.

At the other end, Newman ended 59 not out from 37 balls.

Boston’s 10-wicket victory pushed them closer to the title and was another task completed.

The man of the match award was given to Vella.

The match was sponsored by Charles Wright and Sons.