Lincs CCC miss out on semi

Alex Willerton.
Alex Willerton.

Lincolnshire CCC’s hopes of reaching the Unicorns Knockout Trophy semi-final were dashed when they lost by 16 runs to Cumberland at Bourne CC on Sunday.

Cumberland won the toss and elected to bat.

Lincolnshire took two early wickets to reduce Cumberland to 33 for 2.

Thereafter Alex Grainger and Michael Slack added 98 for the third wicket before Grainger was dismissed for 65.

The Cumberland scoring rate then increased, led principally by Slack.

After 40 overs they were 173 for 4 and finally completed their 50 overs on 247 for 8, with Slack run out for 95.

Lincolnshire got off to the worst possible start losing both openers with only 12 runs on the board.

Wickets continued to fall regularly and at 80 for 6 the game looked lost.

Matt Fowler and Azeem Rafiq added 63 for the seventh wicket, but when Rafiq fell for 59 the total was 184 for 9, some 64 runs short of victory.

Alex Willerton then took the game to the opponents hitting 40 valuable runs (four sixes and two fours) before he was controversially caught in the outfield, some 17 runs short of victory with 4.4 overs remaining.

Matt Siddall with 4 for 55 was Cumberland’s most successful bowler.

Lincolnshire return to Eastern Division Championship matches when they travel to West Bromwich to face Staffordshire in a three-day fixture commencing on Sunday (11 am start).

Last Sunday Lincolnshire CCC began their Eastern Division campaign in fine style, winning by 10 wickets when they hosted Cumberland at Sleaford.

On winning the toss Cumberland elected to bat first and before long they were in trouble against Lincolnshire’s opening hostile attack.

In no time the visitors had slumped to 36 for 6 as Curtis Free and Alex Willerton dismantled their top order.

A stand of 40 for the seventh wicket provided some hope for the visitors, but the introduction of Matt Fowler into the attack shortly before lunch brought the crucial breakthrough, Cumberland reaching 78 for 7 at the lunch interval.

After lunch short work was made of their lower order as they were dismissed for 90 in the 43rd over.

Free with 5 for 29 and Willerton with 4 for 25 were Lincolnshire’s key bowlers.

Lincolnshire’s innings started steadily until they reached 32 when Joe Kendall was dismissed.

Tom Keast and Bilal Shafayat quickly followed and at 38 for 3 Cumberland were back in the game.

Azeem Rafiq and Jack Timby steadied the innings before Rafiq was adjudged lbw for 36 with the total on 89 for 4.

Timby and Dan Freeman took Lincolnshire into the lead and added a vital 60 before Timby was dismissed for a patient and valuable 50.

Carl Wilson then joined Freeman and took the score to 208 for 5 before rain and bad light brought the day’s play to a close, with Freeman 63 not out and Wilson 27 not out, Lincolnshire having 32 overs remaining in their first innings.

Day two started in dramatic style with Lincolnshire losing their last five wickets for a mere 27 runs to leave them on 235, some 145 runs ahead, Freeman top scoring with 74.

For Cumberland Adam Syddall took 6 for 62.

With rain threatening, Lincolnshire now had to make early inroads into the Cumberland batting.

This they did and with the visitors on 39 for 3 and 81 for 5 victory looked to be assured, only Josh Boyne with 39 and Jacques du Toit with 30 offering any great resistance.

Shortly before tea Cumberland were dismissed for 168, Alex Willerton taking 6 for 51 to give him match analysis of 10 for 76.

Lincolnshire reached the 24 required for victory without loss, winning by 10 wickets and taking 22 points from the match.