Cricket: Skegness 176 for 9, Hartsholme 86 for 6

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GROUNDSMAN Graham Barker earned all the plaudits at Richmond Drive on Saturday after he battled against all the elements to provide a game of cricket, which was sponsored by MKM Building Supplies.

While the wet weather continued to deplete the programme of matches around the county, Skegness spectators were treated to some sport, albeit interrupted by the heavy showers.

Barker’s efforts were rewarded by the league leaders bagging a number of bonus points they otherwise would not have secured.

On paper, against the bottom of the league side Hartsholme, they should have expected the maximum 20 points. But when the weather intervenes you need someone to pull out the stops to get the cricket on.

Hartsholme will also be pleased by Barker’s toil. The nine points they gained lifted them off the bottom of the table at the expense of Boston, who were beaten by Sleaford.

The seasiders, put into bat by their opponents, didn’t get off to the best of starts. Skipper Saeed Bariwala departed with the score on four and then Jamie Epton followed shortly afterwards after being caught by visiting skipper Nick Wilkinson.

Pete Houghton and Oliver Pringle stopped the slide, but when they both left in quick succession the home side were rocking on 47 for four.

The middle order of Sean Chamberlain, Adrian Gordon and Paul Butler restored stability and took the seasiders beyond the second batting point. Useful contributions from Mark O’Dare, Mark Chamberlain, Steve Kirkham and Marcello Santini clinched them a third before the close of their innings.

After a terrible start, losing both their openers with the score on three, Hartsholme were never up with the required run rate, but a resolute stand of 37 between Matthew Wooldridge and Tim Shooter frustrated the home side and the game was eventually abandoned for bad light with 11 overs left.

The ten points earned by Skegness saw them open a six point gap at the top of the table.

On Saturday they are at home to Sleaford (12.30pm start) when skipper Bariwala hopes to have overseas player Gordon back in his bowling attack