Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League
Lindum 176 all out
Skegness 169 all out
SKEGNESS are hovering perilously close to the relegation zone after letting victory at Lincoln slip through their fingers.
The seasiders looked to have done enough to bag victory at fellow strugglers Lindum, but they suffered an humiliating collapse, losing five wickets for just eight runs.
Spinner Matt Rutherford was the hero for the home side as he picked up six wickets from his 19 overs.
After losing their first four wickets for 68, a mature and patient fifth wicket partnership between Carl Wilson (54) and Jamie Epton (29) doubled the visitors’ tally.
But when Rutherford snared Wilson in the 40th over, panic appeared to set in and the wickets started to tumble.
Skipper Tony Santini lasted just five balls – another Rutherford victim – having escaped a first ball lbw appeal.
Epton hit Aussie Matt Bursa back over his head only to be caught in the deep by home skipper Harry Dunn.
Sean Chamberlain perished to the first ball he faced from Bursa and when the big hitting Lochlan Christian was trapped lbw by Rutherford it looked all over for the seasiders.
Number 11 bat Steve Kirkham had other ideas and, using the pace of Bursa, he slashed four deliveries to the boundary during a 19-ball unbeaten knock of 23.
With five extra overs looming, Kirkham was starting to put the pressure back onto the home side, but Marcello Santini’s dismissal at the other end halted hopes of a dramatic win for Skegness.
A quick glance at the scorecard revealed one area in which the seasiders are going to have to improve if they are to avoid a relegation dogfight. Twenty-one wides were bowled by the visitors, compared to four by the more disciplined Lindum.
It had all started so brightly for Skegness with three maidens, but gradually wicket keeper Richard Bishop and teenager Will Wright picked up the pace to build an opening stand of 63.
Wright, Lindum’s under 15s captain, went on to become the youngest player to score an ECB half century in Lincolnshire.
Middleton joined county u15 player Wright in a second wicket partnership of 51 before Kirkham had him caught by his captain.
Then the wickets started to flow with Epton emerging as the pick of the bowlers. His four wickets included the smart stumping of Dale Christie by the in-form Wilson.
Wicketless in his first seven overs, Wade McCall returned to the attack to claim the scalp of Qasim Memon with the first ball of his second spell.
Kirkham was unlucky to have Wright dropped off his bowling early on, but went on to pick up the wickets of Middleton and Rutherford on his return.
Christian’s second spell wrapped up the innings with Jake Benson and Dinesh Logendran caught behind in the 45th over.
With 55 overs in which to get them, 177 did not appear out of reach, especially when Wilson and Epton were going so well. But it all changed when Bursa was brought back into the attack and Skegness crumbled under the pressure.
On Saturday, Skegness will play host to fellow strugglers Nettleham in what is a must win game for both sides, starting at 12.30pm.
W Wright c Chamberlain b Epton 56
R Bishop c Kirkham b Christian 26
G Middleton c A Santini b Kirkham 20
L Robinson lbw Epton 4
M Rutherford lbw Kirkham 2
D Christie s Wilson b Epton 9
H Dunn b Epton 7
Q Memon c M Santini b McCall 13
M Bursa not out 4
J Benson c Wilson b Christian 7
D Logendran c Wilson b Christian 0
Total (all out) 176
Bowling: W McCall 9-2-30-1, S Kirkham 17-1-70-2, L Christian 8.5-2-35-3, J Epton 7-1-25-4, A Santini 3-0-9-0.
N Brackley c Bishop b Rutherford 14
P Houghton c and b Bursa 29
P Butler b Rutherford 5
C Wilson c Robinson b Rutherford 54
W McCall c Bishop b Rutherford 2
J Epton c Dunn b Bursa 29
A Santini lbw Rutherford 0
L Christian lbw Rutherford 7
S Chamberlain b Bursa 0
M Santini lbw Bursa 1
S Kirkham not out 23
Total (all out) 169
Bowling: M Bursa 13.1-3-54-4, D Logendran 5-1-18-0, M Rutherford 19-4-55-6, J Benson 8-1-19-0, Q Memon 3-0-22-0.