Victory sees the Firsts open up a 29-point lead

H/S of Boston Cricket Club players. Ben Vella.
H/S of Boston Cricket Club players. Ben Vella.

Ben Vella claimed five victims as Boston Cricket Club Firsts extended their lead at the top of the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division.

Saturday’s five-wicket victory at home to Grantham Seconds, coupled with Sleaford’s defeat to Bourne, means the Mayflower men have now opened up a 29-point gap.

The return of Matthew Hood and Sam Elliott meant Boston were back to full strength and, after Grantham elected to bat, they showed just that.

Boston’s opening pair of Scott Elleray and Elliott really tested Martin Parmley and Stewart Mudie in the opening exchanges, the breakthrough coming in the fourth over.

Elliott found the edge of Parmley’s bat and the ball carried straight through to Evans at first slip to give Boston first blood.

Phil Abbott and Danny Ashley also fell to the opening bowlers, only scoring one run each as Elleray trapped Abbott LBW and Elliott found the edge of Ashley’s bat to give the ever-impressive Hood another victim behind the stumps.

At 27-3, Boston would have fancied bowling Grantham out very cheaply.

However, Mudie and Gareth Bennett had other ideas, digging and slowly rebuilding the innings.

The introduction of Andy Hewitt saw him remove Bennett for 10.

“It was a big wicket,” said captain Tom Baxter.

“They had really worked hard to build a score and to make that breakthrough was a big plus.”

Adrian Wing soon followed after being clean bowled by Vella for zero.

Vella followed that up by bowling the very impressive Mudie for 46.

Grantham were struggling at 77-6 and a big effort from Vella saw him pick up the wickets of Louis Greetham, Max Everett and Will Abbott, to end with very impressive figures of 5-26 off his eight overs.

“He bowled well again,” Baxter said of Vella.

“He’s bowled really well for the past few weeks.

“He’s picked up 23 wickets and a lot of them have come in the last five weeks.”

Baxter picked up the final wicket after bowling Jake Unsworth to end the innings on 111.

At the tea interval, Boston were hopeful of chasing down 111 and picking up another 20 points.

Boston’s cause was aided as the first and third deliveries of the innings disappeared past the keeper for five wides each.

However, everything changed within the next two overs as Evans and Ryan Croom were both dismissed, trapped LBW by Rahul Kumar and Unsworth respectively.

At 17-2, Boston had something to think about, and when Vella smashed one back at the bowler and he clung on to a catch around his ankles, Boston were in further trouble at 30-3.

Baxter joined Dave Newman at the crease and a 39-run partnership steadied the innings until Newman was dismissed by the experienced Wing for 47.

Baxter soon followed for five, caught at slip off the bowling of Wing.

At 74-5, Boston needed another 38 runs for victory and the calm, controlled innings of 34 not out from Matthew Hood saw Boston home to another 20-point victory.

Hood was ably supported by Peter Mitchell (seven not out).

“I was pleased for Hoody,” added Baxter.

Vella was named man of the match.