Skegness edge out Boston in nail-biting finish

Boston 177 for 7, Skegness 181 for 9

Skegness (16pts) beat Boston (7pts) by one wicket

IT’S far too early for talk of title challenges, but should league leaders Skegness still be at the summit in September you can bet they’ll reflect on their day in Boston as pivotal to their campaign.

And the celebratory drinks will be well deserved as far as America international Adrian Gordon is concerned after he battled against the odds to see his team over the line.

He steered the seasiders into a match winning position with his partnership of 74 with Jamie Epton (41), but then wickets began to fall at the other end.

Faced with the prospect of all his hard work going to waste, Gordon took charge to single-handedly finish off the job.

It was nail-biting stuff. Indeed there were reports of the club chairman hiding behind the sofa as wickets tumbled. But Gordon kept his cool to secure another 16pts.

“It was the best innings of my life,” the relieved overseas all-rounder said after the match, which was sponsored by Rigby Taylor.

But it could have been all so different. Boston had set the visitors a target of 178 and when Scott Elleray starting ripping through the Skegness middle order doubts began to creep in.

In truth, the Pilgrims will not get a better chance to record their first win of the season. Had home skipper Tom Baxter held onto a huge hit straight down the ground from Gordon it would have been curtains for the seasiders and the heroics would have been forgotten. But he spilled the chance and Gordon survived to wrap things up.

His innings of 78 not out included some majestic shots, taking on one of the quickest bowlers in the county, Colin Cheer.

But it was much more about the intelligent way he crafted his innings to ensure that the seasiders came out on top.

And bottom of the table Hartsholme will get no comfort from the news that Gordon is planning to return to his bowling role when the two sides meet at Richmond Drive on Saturday.

Injury has prevented him opening the bowling for the last few weeks, but he is hopeful that he will return to full fitness this weekend.

Skegness skipper Saeed Bariwala enthused about the Boston win and hailed Gordon’s innings as brilliant.

And he was also full of praise for his number three batsman Jamie Epton, who made 41 with some delicious strokes.

“Young Jamie is one of the most technically sound batsmen in the league,” said the Skegness skipper. “He is one to watch for the future.”

Bariwala’s own form with the ball is also having an impact. He picked up another six wickets, to add to the eight he registered the previous week, and was unlucky with a couple of dropped catches that would have added to that tally.

“I thought we did well to restrict Boston to 177 because at one point they looked to be heading for a score of 200,” he said.

And he singled out Oliver Pringle for special mention.

“Ollie bowled really well but was unlucky. His first 11 overs cost just 15 runs.”

Because they couldn’t bowl Boston out Skegness had to settle for three bowling bonus points. And a target of 178 meant that only three batting points would be up for grabs.

As Woodhall Spa clinched a maximum 20 points in their match against Grimsby, Skegness are now just one point ahead at the top of the table.

The chances of them staying there will depend on their batsmen replicating the spirit and resolve shown by Gordon.

Boston- J. Cheer, ct A. Santini b. Bariwala, 45; R. Tomlin, b Pringle, 41; D. Hegarty, ct Gordon b Bariwala, 26; M. Poole ct Gordon b Bariwala, 1; P. Tether st A. Santini b Bariwala, 11; C. Cheer, b Bariwala, 8; T. Baxter not out 12; T. Bell, lbw b Bariwala 4; S. Elleray not out 10; S. Major did not bat, L.. Goulder did not bat; Extras 19, Total (for 7 Wkts) 177

Bowling: O. Pringle 16-6-45-1; S. Kirkham 12-2-47-0; S. Bariwala 14-3-40-6; M. Chamberlain 4-1-15-0; J. Epton 2-0-16-0; P. Butler 2-0-5-0

Skegness- S. Bariwala, ct Tether b Elleray, 1; P. Houghton ct & b Elleray 9; J. Epton, lbw b Bell 41; O. Pringle ct Baxter b Elleray 9; A. Gordon not out 78; P. Butler ct J. Cheer b Baxter 1; A. Santini b Elleray 21; S. Kirkham b Elleray 2; M. Chamberlain run out (Hegarty) 0; M. Santini b Elleray 0; S. Rowson not out 0; Extras 19 Total (for 9 Wkts) 181

Bowling: C. Cheer 14-1-61-0; S. Elleray 14-0-55-6; T. Baxter 11-2-39-1; T. Bell 6-0-21-1.

Results - Haxey 170 (Tonks 73), Hartsholme 81 (Perera 5-14); Bracebridge Heath 238-7 (Bentley 67), Bourne 210-8;

Grimsby 152, Woodhall Spa 155-7; Boston 177-7 (Bariwala 6-40), Skegness 181-9 (Gordon 78no, Elleray 6-55); Sleaford 260-8 (Burford 115, Sears 52), Lindum 118 (Sears 6-52); Louth v Market Deeping – cancelled, waterlogged pitch.