Cricket - Race for Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League crown is hotting up

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The race for the Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League championship hotted up considerably after leaders Woodhall Spa lost to challengers Sleaford.

And with Bracebridge Heath also winning at Grimsby, only 15 points now separate the top three.

Woodhall posted a challenging 249 for six at London Road, Ben O’Brien smashing 113 off 89 balls with eight fours and seven sixes. But after Matt Sergeant and Luke Smith had each taken a wicket to leave Sleaford 59 for two, Tim McIntosh with an unbeaten 135 and Paul Roberts with 83 not out saw their side to victory.

At Augusta Street, Grimsby finished on 221 for eight, Harry Warwick (52) and Steve Crossley (64) putting on 96 for the third wicket. Paul Cook then became the day’s third centurion, his 125 off 106 balls taking Bracebridge to victory.

Bracebridge now lead Market Deeping by 16 points after the fourth placed side fought out a high scoring draw at Bourne but came out on the wrong side.

Pete Morgan, Conrad Louth and Matthew Hawken all made half centuries as the home side again recorded the day’s highest total of 259 for seven. Deeping fought hard to reach their target, Chris Jones making 74. but fell 26 runs short, finishing with nine wickets down to take home 11 points.

Lindum are now just two adrift of Deeping after inflicting a crushing defeat on Spalding. Will Wright added another 71 runs to his ever-growing total to help the Lincoln side to 225 for six before Spalding were bowled out for 96 of which Warren Nel hit 54.

Skegness stayed sixth after a seven wicket win over Haxey who made 168 for seven. The seasiders were then reduced to 48 for three but Haxey had no further success as Ricky Lovelace (68no) and Norman Brackley (65no) saw their side to victory.

Louth are now on equal points with Bourne after winning a tight game against bottom side Hartsholme. Zeeshan Ahmed made 61 of Louth’s total of 210 for six but Kit Spence’s 52 saw the Lincoln side get within 13 runs of their target before the final wicket fell, Stewart West with the day’s only five wicket haul, taking five for 52.

Results -Haxey 168-7, Skegness 169-3 (Lovelace 68no, Brackley 65no); Woodhall Spa 249-6 (O’Brien 113), Sleaford 251-2 (McIntosh 135no, Roberts 83no); Lindum 225-6 (Wright 71), Spalding 96 (Nel 54); Grimsby 221-8 (Crossley 64, Warwick 52), Bracebridge Heath 225-3 (Cook 125); Bourne 259-7 (Morgan 64, Louth 54, Hawken 62), Market Deeping 233-9 (Jones 74); Louth 210-6 (Ahmed 61), Hartsholme 197 (Spence 52, S West 5-52).