One century, a six wicket haul and a team total that topped 300 were the highlights of the opening day of the 2014 Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League programme.
Spalding’s Warren Nel hit the lone century, an unbeaten 116 in a tight game against Market Deeping, Matt Carter continued where he left off last season with six wickets for Bracebridge Heath and Bourne unveiled a strong batting line-up that made 303 for eight off 50 overs.
The closest game of the day came at Lindum where Sleaford – notorious for their disastrous early-season starts – were the visitors.
Put into bat, the champions struggled to build any sizeable partnerships despite skipper Oliver Burford’s 44 and 31 from Kurt Colyn. The final wicket fell on 196 in the penultimate over with Jon Miller and Luke Robinson each taking three wickets.
The home side had similar problems until, at 66 for four, Robinson was joined by Tom Lindsay in a stand of 64 which turned the game Lindum’s way.
But Tim McIntosh, who had earlier been dismissed for nine, broke the partnership and went on to take two more wickets and with eight down, Lindum still needed 46 for victory.
The lower order chipped away at the total but with 183 on the board, McIntosh took his fourth wicket to give Sleaford a 13 run win.
Nel’s ton contributed to the highest scoring game of the day at Spalding where over 500 runs came. Batting first, Spalding notched up 258 for eight, Josh Newton contributing 58 in a second wicket partnership of 118 with Nel.
Market Deeping’s reply also started well, Chris Jones and Jamie Morgan putting on 99 for the first wicket. Both fell on this score but Alex Wheatley built on the good start, ably assisted by Lee Peacock and Tom Andrews.
Two wickets for Charlie Kearns gave Spalding hope of an outright win but Deeping continued to narrow the gap until the overs ran out with the score just 14 short of the target, Wheatley finishing unbeaten on 65.
Market Rasen suffered a setback before their season even started when three players were involved in a collision on the way to Jubilee Park. Fortunately there were no injuries but the league newcomers then ran into the talents of all-rounder Ben O’Brien who took 5-46 as Rasen were all out for 116, Sebastian Darke top scoring with 31.
Woodhall’s first wicket fell on 74 and it was O’Brien who took his side to an eight wicket victory with an unbeaten 25.
Brett Houston hit 80 and Hymie Bentley 45 to lift Bracebridge Heath from 40 for two to 138 against Skegness. Chasing a final score of 249 for nine, Skegness lost two early wickets to Cameron Hall but it was the introduction of Carter to the attack that was the undoing of Skegness.
After Sean Chamberlain had hit 43, Carter’s six wickets reduced the visitors from 90 for four to 132 all out.
At Louth, Laurence Scott almost made it two centuries on the first day but had to be content with 98. Scott held the Louth innings together after the first three wickets went for 18 runs, Danny Cliffe claiming two victims. Assisted by the middle order, Scott batted on to take his side to 227, the final wicket falling on the last ball.
Grimsby got off to a better start despite losing a wicket on seven, Cerri James making 31 and Maninder Singh batting steadily. Daniel Mawer contributed 25 but three quick wickets for Arran Brindle put the visitors on the back foot. However, the lower order hung on to support Singh who finished unbeaten on 64 as Grimsby claimed valuable extra points on 161 for nine.
Three half centuries contributed to Bourne’s 303 for eight at newcomers Billingborough. Pete Morgan hit 83, Stuart Airey 59, Carl Wilson 53 and Conrad Louth while Billingborough got off a reasonable start, reaching 55 for one. From here, the home side were unable to build any sizeable partnerships and the final wicket fell on 162.