Vital points in real nail-biter

Pradeep Chanditha.
Pradeep Chanditha.

Skegness kept themselves above the relegation zone with a nail-biting victory over fellow strugglers Nettleham at Richmond Drive.

It was a game in which the initiative passed from one to the other throughout, but the seasiders held their nerve to bowl the Nettles out 13 runs short of their meagre target.

The home side were put into bat on a relatively green wicket, but it must have been a decision Nettleham started to question when openers Pradeep Chanditha and Dylan Labuschagne raced to 50 without much danger.

Norman Brackley helped Labuschagne to his half century and Skegness to three figures, but that’s when it started to go horribly wrong.

From the comfortable position of 105 for one, they lost nine wickets for just 57 runs and were all out in the 36th over.

Not only was it a relatively low target, but their collapse gifted the Nettles with 14 extra overs in which to get the runs.

Four of the visiting bowlers shared the wickets, two-apiece, and there were two run-outs.

Such was the speed at which the seasiders folded that it was agreed to bowl ten overs before taking tea.

Those 10 overs produced just 10 runs, as the rapid Ray Jordan peppered openers Phil Brown and Adi Sreedharan from one end, while Chanditha probed from the High Street end.

So Nettleham, second to bottom at the start of play, will have relieved to have reached tea with their 10 wickets intact.

They knew there was no hurry and so Brown and Sreedharan continued in a similar vein after tea until Brown was caught at slip by Brackley off the bowling of Chanditha.

Nettleham overseas allrounder Rhett Bridgens then joined Sreedharan and between them they put on 95 for the second wicket to give the initiative back to the visitors.

Their partnership wasn’t without chances and Skegness let both off the hook when they dropped two relatively simple catches.

Having ridden their luck, you sensed that it might just be Nettleham’s day but, in a similar way to their opponents, they collapsed like a pack of cards, losing their last six wickets for just 21 runs.

Indeed only skipper Jack Curtis offered any resistance, hitting 17 off 39 balls before being brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper and opposite number Sean Chamberlain.

When Curtis departed on 149 for seven Nettleham were still favourites to go on and win the match, but they failed to trouble the scorers again, allowing the seasiders victory in the 54th over, which avenged their defeat at Mulsanne Park earlier in the season.

The win widened the gap between Skegness and the bottom two, but dumped the Nettles on the bottom rung.

With second-to-bottom Grimsby winning, it was important that the seasiders tasted victory to relieve the pressure, and on the day they delivered.

Skegness batting: P. Chanditha b Bridgens 21, D. Labuschagne ct Bridgens b Sreedharan 62, N. Brackley ct S Mccardell b Strawson 14, S. Chamberlain run out (Keeble) 22, A. Redgard ct S Mccardell b Strawson 0, R. Jordan run out (Bridgens) 22, T. Cuthbert ct Hawkins b Lea 1, A. Sylvester lbw b Sreedharan 0, M. Chamberlain b Lea 1, H. Houlden b Bridgens 2, C. Nelson not out 2. Extras 15.

Skegness bowling: R. Jordan 17-7- 32-3; P. Chanditha 10.4-3- 26-3; T. Cuthbert 7-0- 23-0; N. Brackley 17-5- 40-4; A. Sylvester 2-0- 20-0.