SKEGNESS missed an opportunity to maintain their 16 point advantage at the top of the ECB Lincolnshire League last Saturday after they lost by 37 runs on their visit to Lindum - picking up only four bonus points by way of consolation.
With nearest rivals Haxey garnering a full 20 points in their victory over Louth, the scene is now set for what could potentially be a title decider when the two sides meet at Haxey on Saturday, locked on 214 points apiece at the top of the table.
The Seasiders could have reduced the nail-biting element of this weekend’s encounter by winning the game at Lincoln, which was well within their compass.
On a day made for cricket – and batting – Skegness had the misfortune to lose the toss. But an early burst of sharp, aggressive bowling by Adrian Gordon had the home side on the rack in the third over. Lindum batsmen Bishop and Hornsby then saw off the opening assault, advancing the score to 40 in the tenth over.
The momentum swung in favour of the visitors, triggered by a sharp piece of fielding by Sean Chamberlain to run out opener Bishop for 18.
He struck quickly, his first over being a wicket maiden. With a little bit of help from simultaneous change bowler, Steve Kirkham, who also struck in his first over, Lindum were there for the taking on 59 for six in the 18th over.
The turning point was the old curse of crucial dropped catches, with eventual Lindum saviour, Robinson, benefiting twice.
Lindum closed on 181 for eight.
Skegness’ hopes of a strong response were rudely shattered in the first over when Sri Lankan seamer, De Silva accounted for openers Peter Houghton and Tony Santini.
The similarity between the two innings then continued as Paul Butler and Gordon set about the Skegness rebuilding job. All appeared to be going smoothly, the score advancing to 56 when Butler, on 20, pulled a rank long hop from Bansil straight to mid wicket.
This was followed by the familiar clattering of middle order wickets.
This end of the rear guard action came with Chamberlain stranded undefeated on 28, a somewhat comical last wicket run out with the score on 144.