In the Readers South Lincs and Borders Second Division, an unbroken opening century stand between Phil Sharp (30 no) and Pete Blackmore (49 no) provided a perfect finish to a strong team performance at Grantham on Saturday afternoon as Burgh and District cruised to a ten-wicket victory over their hosts’ Third Eleven.
The wide-open expanse of the Grantham outfield and a good batting surface usually add up to plenty of runs but, aside from a battling 60 from their captain, a frustrated Mark Donnellan, the home side were oblivious to the opportunity before them, spending much of the thirty overs that their innings lasted entangled in a web woven of their own impatience.
All considered, their all out total of 104 was of fortunate magnitude.
Indeed, had Terry Wilkinson (2 for 28) and, particularly, Scott Sutton (3 for 53) been fully rewarded for their efforts Grantham’s innings would have been ended well below three figures.
After 20 overs, Grantham were struggling at 73 for 5, well-taken catches by Elliott Brown and Scott Underwood contributing to their discomfort, but not entirely down and out as, with Donnellan still at the crease, a recovery of some sort was still possible.
However, the lower order too remained deaf to their captain’s exhortations and, together with a Sutton run-out, Phil Sharp (4 for 4) aided by two more excellent catches by Richard Underwood and Paul Wilkinson brought Grantham’s ragged willow-wielding to a swift close.
In complete contrast, Burgh’s reply was a picture of well-measured run-gathering, although with nearly sixty overs at their disposal the Millers could afford to take it easy.
Though pressured early on by Hackney and Aubury, openers Sharp and Blackmore were almost faultless in attitude, steadily advancing Burgh towards their target, Blackmore in particular finding the gaps in the field to plentiful reward.
Before the end of the twenty-first over, Burgh’s eleventh League win of the year had been secured and swiftly so too with a burst of 39 runs off 23 balls.