Sleaford 263 for 9; Skegness 233 all out

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A fourth wicket stand of 187 between Paul Butler and Jamie Epton was not enough to derail championship chasing Sleaford’s challenge for the title.

But the frustrated seasiders will be reflecting on what might have been, had an important decision gone their way earlier in the day.

Having won the toss and choosing to bat, the home side had just lost their first wicket when Tom Cuthbert bounded in from the scoreboard end to the prolific professional Timothy McIntosh.

With an average of over 100 this season, McIntosh was the wicket they desperately needed if they were going to unsettle high-flying Sleaford.

The left handed Kiwi produced a loose shot, playing away from his body, and nicked the ball to wicket-keeper Epton.

The whole team went up, elated that they had removed the danger man so early in his innings. He had mustered just 30 runs at that stage.

But for some reason he wasn’t given out and he went on to make another century.

The despair in the Skegness camp was plain to see, but they regrouped to restrict the home side to 263 for 9, thus netting four bowling points in the process.

Now they needed their batsmen to perform in order to put things right.

With the dogged determination of Butler and Epton they so very nearly pulled it off.

After the loss of Ricky Lovelace, Saeed Bariwala and Pete Houghton, the Skegness pair set up camp in the middle and constructed a stand of 187 before Butler fell to Tom Shorthouse on 222, ironically with the same score as McIntosh.

The seasiders, needing 42 runs, had six wickets left.

But Shaun Morris, who had earlier taken two wickets, returned for a second spell, which brought him six wickets for four runs in just four overs. He finished with figures of eight for 39 as the visitors collapsed to 233 all out.

On Saturday Skegness play their final game of the season when Louth visit Richmond Drive for an 11.30am start.

It will be Saeed Bariwala’s last game for the seasiders and chairman Pete Reeves paid tribute to all-rounder ‘Siddy’.

“He now has a young family and although he loves playing for Skegness he can’t keep travelling from Preston. Skegness Cricket Club will miss him dearly, not just as a player, but as a person,” said Mr Reeves. “He always gave 100 per cent, was a very good team man and a superb cricketer, who will always be welcome at Skegness. We wish him all the very best for the future.”

Sleaford - T McIntosh b Milgate 103; T Shorthouse lbw b Williams 39; A Hibberd

b Bariwala 19; O Burford ct Bariwala b Milgate 4; P Roberts b Milgate 4; C Burgess lbw b Bariwala 42; A Sears run out (Cuthbert) 3; S Morris run out (Milgate) 21; J Smith not out

4; N Titley b Williams 1; N Goacher not out 5.

Extras 18

Total (for 9 wkts) 263

Bowling - S Williams 8-2-34-2; T Cuthbert 9-1-53-0; S Bariwala 17-6-67-2; D Milgate 16-1-101-3.

Skegness - S Bariwala b Morris 20; R Lovelace b Shorthouse 4; J Epton b Morris 74; P Houghton ct Shorthouse b Morris 1; P Butler ct McIntosh b Shorthouse 103; D Milgate

b Morris 4; S Chamberlain not out 2; J Hoskin b Morris 1; S Williams b Morris 0; T Cuthbert

b Morris 0; M Forman b Morris 0.

Extras 24

Total (all out) 233

Bowling - T Shorthouse 16-4-49-2; S Morris 9-0-39-8; A Sears 5-1-22-0; McIntosh 6-0-51-0; N Goacher 7-0-33-0; J Smith 4-0-30-0.