THE BALL is very much back in the court of title-chasing Skegness after a convincing win over basement club Boston.
With the weekend’s rain affecting the rest of the fixture list and defeat for title rivals Haxey, Skegness are eight points clear at the top of the ECB league with just three games left.
Friday night’s rain and heavy showers on Saturday morning meant the start was delayed for 30 minutes.
The home side made an early breakthrough when Adrian Gordon took the valuable wicket of Jonathan Cheer in the third over with a full toss that the Boston dangerman played round.
Rain interrupted proceedings for 25 minutes and after the break Saeed Bariwala picked up the ball and removed Kieran Evans and Luke Gilding with his first two deliveries.
Having taken a wicket with his last ball at Haxey the previous week, this was technically a hat-trick for the Skegness skipper, his first in this league.
Indeed, there were some who believed it was four wickets in four balls, having dismissed the last two Haxey batsmen. But reference to the scorebook cleared that one up. The Haxey dismissals had been separated by a wide ball.
This mini collapse left Boston on 27 for three and with Oliver Pringle again bowling well at the other end and Bariwala in the form that has earned him a county call-up, the Pilgrims crumbled to 68 all out in the 26th over.
Pringle finished with deserved figures of five for 26 from his 12.4 overs.
With one eye on the weather Skegness were keen to get on with the job and after the loss of Pete Houghton, Bariwala stepped up the order to smash 48 runs off 24 balls, including seven fours and two sixes.
It was all over in less than ten overs.
Haxey’s surprise defeat at the hands of Hartsholme and the abandonment of Bracebridge Heath’s match has seen Skegness rise back to the top of the table.
Sponsors of the Skegness v Boston cricket match were Jaychand Newsagents.
On Saturday they hope to cement this place when they travel to Hartsholme in Lincoln for a 12 noon start.
Meanwhile, the South Lincs and Border League Division One clash between Stamford and Skegness 2nds was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of
Boston - J Cheer b Gordon 1; K Evans ct S Chamberlain b Bariwala 17 S Azim ct A Santini b Pringle 11; L Gilding lbw b Bariwala 0; M Poole ct Butler b Pringle 18; T Baxter ct Kirkham; b Pringle 0; C Cheer ct A Santini b Pringle 0; M Hood b Bariwala 0; A Singh not out 2; S Elleray b Bariwala 1; P Deans ct Butler b Pringle 9; Extras 9 Total (all out) 68.
Bowling - A Gordon 5-1-14-1; O Pringle 12.4-3-26-5; S Bariwala 8-1-24-4.
Skegness - P Houghton ct Hood b Elleray 4; O Pringle ct Azim b Deans 16; S Bariwala not out 48; A Gordon not out 1; S Chamberlain, P Butler A Santini, M Santini, did not bat; S Kirkham, M O’Dare, M Chamberlain, Extras 2 Total (for 2 wkts) 71.
Bowling - C Cheer 3-0-26-0; S Elleray 3-1-22-1; T Baxter 2-1-8-0; P Deans 1.3-0-14-1.