WITH most Lincolnshire ECB Premier League games falling victim to the weather some may have voted groundsman Graham Barker man of the match at Richmond Drive on Saturday.
At last there was some cricket to enjoy and, despite the cold breeze licking the east coast and bringing with it a splattering of rain, the game survived to allow Skegness to register a 20-point haul.
Yes, it was cold and it was damp, but the ground was in remarkably good nick when you consider the amount of rain that has fallen over the last three weeks.
Teamwise all looks rosey for Skegness after this opening fixture. Both overseas players performed well with the ball and the local lads batted the team into a match-winning position.
A sixth wicket partnership of 126 between opener Pete Houghton and Sean Chamberlain rescued the seasiders after they had limped to 80 for five and, having secured the maximum batting bonus points, the home side even had the luxury of declaring with two overs to spare.
In 100-over matches the side batting second would have the benefit of the extra 12 balls. But in reality, having been set 240 to win there was no way Grimsby were going to chase the total down.
In these conditions the best they could have hoped for was a draw, but they didn’t bat with any real conviction against the pace of West Indian Adrian Gordon and the accuracy of Oliver Pringle.
There was also a lively spell from Stephen Kirkham, who claimed a wicket to see the new boys vying for the first ‘five-for’ of the season.
In the end it went to Gordon, who bowled all of his victims. Indeed, it was a match without any outfield catches, with both wicketkeepers claiming just one apiece behind the stumps.
Skegness got off to a slow start against the attack of Taylor and Gary Tillison and had only reached 23 when Tillison shattered skipper Saeed Bariwala’s stumps in the eighth over.
The first ball dismissal of Jamie Epton brought Pringle to the crease and he produced 15 off his 20 balls before falling to a harsh lbw decision.
Gordon and Paul Butler didn’t hang around for long and Skegness were looking rather precarious when Sean Chamberlain joined Houghton in the middle.
Houghton was just getting into his stride on 39 but he needed a partner who was going to bat responsibly. That’s exactly what he got in Chamberlain, who helped the left hander to build a winning total.
Houghton went on to make a century before the 23-over partnership was broken by Jim Morgan’s catch behind the wicket off Neal Snell.
Chamberlain finished on 64 not out after facing 75 balls before Bariwala called them in.
In reply neither Grimsby opener looked comfortable against the attack of Gordon and Pringle and in the third over the West Indian paceman was on a hat-trick following the dismissal of Morgan and Snell in consecutive balls.
The usually prolific Richard Antcliffe was joined by Harry Warwick, who has scored runs at Richmond Drive, but both found scoring difficult.
Warwick was trapped on his stumps by Kirkham, brought on early as Gordon worked on his run-up. And then Antcliffe, after surviving two strong shouts, finally departed lbw to Pringle’s first wicket for his new club.
Grimsby slumped to 36 for seven before a partnership between Tillison and Taylor doubled their score. It was only a brief respite as Gordon cleaned up the tail to complete a convincing 167-run win.
Extras was the visitors’ highest scorer on a day they will wish to forget.
Next week Skegness travel to champions Bracebridge Heath.
Skegness - S. Bariwala, b Tillison 8; P. Houghton, ct Morgan, b Snell 107; J. Epton, lbw b Tillison 0; O. Pringle, lbw b Woolley 15; A. Gordon, lbw b White 6; P. Butler, b White 0; S. Chamberlain, no tout 64; A. Santini, lbw b Snell 8; D. Nuttall, lbw b Snell 0; M. Chamberlain, not out 3; S. Kirkham, did not bat; Extras 28; Total, 239 for 8.
Bowling - C. Taylor 12-0-54-0; G. Tillison 9-2-30-2; S. Woolley 8-0-52-1; D. White 14-0-64-2; N. Snell 5-0-26-3.
Grimsby - R. Antcliffe, lbw b Pringle 3; J. Morgan, b Gorgon 0; N. Snell, b Gordon 0; H. Warwick, lbw b Birkham 7; D. Wood, b Gordon 2; J. Wilson, ct Santini, b Pringle, 2; B. Volley, b Pringle 0; C. Taylor, b Pringle 10; G. Tillison, b Gordon 23; S. Woolley, b Gordon 0; D. White, not out 0. Extras 25. Total, 72 all out.
Bowling - A. Gordon 6.1-1-30-5; O. Pringle 10-4-29-4; S. Kirkham 4-1-3-1.