Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League
Skegness 277 for 6
Woodhall Spa 281 for 9
Woodhall Spa (17pts), beat Skegness (9pts) by one wicket
Skegness slipped one place in the league table to sixth after a nail-biting finish at leaders Woodhall Spa.
On a flat wicket at a dry and dusty Jubilee Park the seasiders accumulated 277 runs for the loss of six wickets.
In response, the league leaders dug deep to clinch victory in the last over.
Ex-Boston batsman Jonathan Cheer was their hero with a knock of 110.
For Skegness Norman Brackley got amongst the runs with an unbeaten 88, while Pete Houghton returned to form with an energetic 57.
Having lost former Spa man Ricky Lovelace and Jarrad Hoskin cheaply it was left to Houghton and Bariwala to steady the ship for the seasiders.
Bariwala looked comfortable and quite capable of going on to a big score when he nicked one down the leg side. Had he left the ball it’s likely it would have been one more to the extras total as a wide, but instead he was caught behind and Skegness were three down.
This brought Brackley to the wicket and he set about the Woodhall attack with a variety of shots to compliment the left handed Houghton.
The Spa persisted with spinners Paul Timby and Prasanna Jayawardene and Brackley took full advantage, spraying the ball to all parts of the ground.
Despite Houghton lofting a catch to the long on boundary off Timby, the seasiders were looking comfortable.
Another former Woodhall player Dan Milgate joined Brackley in the middle and picked up where Houghton had left off, helping the hard hitter towards three figures.
But Milgate threw away his wicket calling for a run that Brackley had no interest in, thus bringing Skegness skipper Sean Chamberlain to the crease.
Connor Parsons removed Chamberlain’s bails and so it was left to Jamie Epton to support Brackley to the end of the innings.
Sean Williams and debutant Tom Cuthbert bowled with great energy and determination, but the first wicket brought Sri Lankan international Jayawardene to the crease.
He was beginning to settle down when he gifted a chance off Bariwala to Brackley on the edge of the square, which the big man failed to hold onto. How costly was that missed chance going to be?
Not very as it turned out, for Jayawardene perished in Milgate’s next over while trying to chip the ball over the inner ring of fielders on the leg side. It was a much more difficult catch than the earlier one, but Brackley launched his big frame and held onto the ball with one hand. His delight, and relief, was plain to see as teammates smothered him in celebration.
Now it was game on.
The home side were still on target, but their progress faltered slightly as each wicket fell. What they had though was opener Jonathan Cheer, who went on to complete his century and set up the drama of a last over victory. Indeed, with Skegness needing just one more wicket, the winning runs were hit with just three balls to spare.
The seasiders pushed the leaders to the wire, but it just wasn’t enough.
They now have to pick themselves up for the visit to Richmond Drive of Market Deeping on Saturday (12.30pm start).