Lincolnshire ECB Premier League
Skegness 14 points, Hartsholme 10 points
SKEGNESS will be kicking themselves for not taking the maximum 20 points from this opening fixture.
A third wicket partnership between Wade McCall and Pete Houghton had put the seasiders firmly in the driving seat.
And struggling on 28 for four in their response, the home side were on the ropes. Their last man went in with the score on 144 and it seemed just a matter of time. But as the thunder started to rumble, Hartsholme’s final pair of Hargrave and Shillito dug in to add an unbeaten 24.
More importantly they hung around to frustrate the seasiders long enough to be saved by the torrential rain.
So the visitors were left to reflect on what might have been.
Crucial to the Lincoln side’s survival was the innings of opener Warren Nel, newly signed from Nettleham, who made 87 before being caught in the deep by Houghton.
He had just completed a half century with a huge six when he smacked a ball straight back at Paul Butler in the 22nd over. It appeared to stick in the hands of the veteran all rounder but, as if in slow motion, it dropped to the deck.
Arms went up, in disbelief as much as anything, as the seasiders knew they had let the League’s 2010 top batsman off the hook.
Despite Nel’s dogged performance, he was running out of partners, and perished as he singlehandedly took up the challenge.
Those in the Skegness camp who thought his demise was the springboard for victory were to be disappointed when the weather intervened in the 44th over and waterlogged the pitch.
Norman Brackley and Alistair Ainsworth had opened for Skegness and, after surviving an early chance, Brackley was caught by Brooks off the bowling of Shillito.
Ainsworth was Shillito’s next victim, which brought together the left handed Houghton and McCall.
This pair put on 123 before Houghton mistimed his shot trying to pull Sheppard.
Newboy Lochlan Christian lasted just two balls, bowled by Nel.
This triggered the arrival of Butler, who scored his 35 off 34 balls.
Nel picked up the wickets of Carl Wilson and Sean Chamberlain before Tony Santini and Jamie Epton took the score to 244.
Hartsholme got off to a poor start, losing Shooter in a needless run out with the score on eight.
Three more wickets fell without the batsmen troubling the scorer, but Nel kept his side alive with a quality innings.
The pick of the Skegness bowlers was Christian, who claimed three wickets.
On Saturday Skegness travel to Bracebridge Heath (12 noon start), while the second team entertain Spalding 2nds in the South Lincs and Border League at Richmond Drive, starting at 1pm.
N. Brackley, ct Brooks b Shillito, 12; A. Ainsworth, ct Bell b Shillito, 17; P. Houghton, ct Shooter b Sheppard, 37; W. McCall, ct Hargrave b Sheppard, 76; L. Christian, b Nel, 0; P. Butler, b Hargrave, 35; C. Wilson, b Nel, 3; S. Chamberlain, b Nel, 5; A. Santini, not out, 0; J. Epton, not out, 5; M. Jackson, did not bat. Extras 33. Total (for 8 wkts) 244.
Bowling, M. Shillito 12-2-25-2; P. Sheppard 13-0-62-2; H. Rush 7-1-27-0; L. Hargrave 6-0-28-1; K. Spence 2-0-24-0; W. Nel 10-0-59-3.
W. Nel, ct Houghton b Santini, 87; T. Shooter, run out (McCall) 1; N. Poundall, b Christian, 0; H. Rush, ct Ainsworth b Jackson, 0; K. Spence, b Jackson, 0; M. Wooldridge, ct Ainsworth b McCall, 11; S. Bell, run out (Santini), 8; T. Brooks, ct Ainsworth b Christian, 3; L. Hargrave, not out, 35; P. Sheppard, b Christian, 0; M. Shillito, not out, 3. Extras 20. Total (for 9 wkts) 168.
Bowling, L. Christian 11-5-36-3; M. Jackson 7-1-31-2; W. McCall 6-2-9-1; P. Butler 5-0-31-0; S. Chamberlain 4-0-17-0; A. Santini 10.2-1-35-1.