Half century is not enough

Skegness celebrate the second wicket of the day.
Skegness celebrate the second wicket of the day.

A half century from Jamie Epton, his second in two weeks, failed to stop Skegness sliding to defeat at windswept Gorse Lane.

His 50 runs edged the visitors closer to the Grantham target, but they fell 21 runs short, enabling their opponents to tap onto their shoulder in the lower half of the league table.

Indeed, only five points separate these two bottom-four sides.

It was a cloudless sky, with the stiff breeze offering some respite for the seasiders, after they won the toss and opted to field first.

The previous night’s thunderstorms were largely forgotten, but for a puddle at one end of the pitch, which was a result of the rain being blown under the covers.

With captain Sean Chamberlain unavailable, Norman Brackley took over the reins and teenager Christian Harris stepped up from the seconds to keep wicket.

Conditions were difficult for the batsmen and Skegness got off to a great start when they dismissed county player Karanjit Bansal in the first over.

Opener Daniel Webb grabbed a single and Bansal was sent packing after edging his first ball, bowled by Brendan Young, to Umar Farooq in the slips.

It continued to be hard going for the home batsmen, but Webb and Josh Mihill put on 38 for the second wicket before Young zipped one through.

It caught the edge of Mihill’s bat before nestling in the gloves of a grateful Harris.

Another partnership of note during the Grantham innings was that between David Whapplington and skipper Rohan Nurse, who put on 48 for the sixth wicket.

But some would argue that it was the last wicket stand of 35 between number 10 Joe Peck and number 11 Neil Stevenson that sealed the seasiders’ fate.

The pair hung around long enough to turn a reasonable total into a tricky target, with Peck’s unbeaten 27 topping the home side’s batting performances.

But even higher in the pecking order was the 33 extras, including 20 wides, that were gifted by the seasiders.

Young was again the pick of the Skegness bowlers with his 12 overs costing just 29 runs.

Skegness began their innings knowing the required rate was little more than three an over.

They took their time and at 94 for two they were sitting pretty, but the last eight wickets fell for just 51 runs.

Openers Pradeep Chanditha and Daniel Nuttall patiently built a partnership before the latter was run out by Nurse.

The seasiders were still on target when Chanditha was caught by Whapplington off the spin of Bansal Pete Houghton and Epton put on 54, but when the left hander was dismissed for ten, Epton began to run out of partners, thanks to a middle order collapse.

The visitors secured just one batting point before Tom Cuthbert’s wicket sealed their fate in the 49th over.

On Saturday Skegness travel to third placed Market Deeping for a noon start.

Skegness bowling: B. Young 12-3-29-3; U. Farooq 10-1-27-1; T. Cuthbert 11-2-46-1; P. Chanditha 6-1-24-2; N. Brackley 6-0-29-3.

Skegness batting: P. Chanditha ct Whapplington b Bansal 16; D. Nuttall run out (Nurse) 11; J. Epton ct Whapplington b Bansal 50; P. Houghton ct Clawson b Brumby 10; W. Perera lbw b Peck 7; B. Young ct Bansal b Peck 0; N. Brackley lbw b Bansal 6; U. Farooq ct Whapplington b Oakes 12; T. Cuthbert ct Bansal b Peck 4; M. Chamberlain ct Mihill b Oakes 3; C. Harris not out 2; Extras 24; Total (all out) 145.