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Bedfordshire finish bottom

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A disappointing season for Bedfordshire ended on a humiliating note when they were beaten inside two days by Lincolnshire.

The 223-run defeat at Wardown Park, Luton, left them firmly anchored at the bottom of the Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division.

Victory for Lincolnshire was enough to secure third place in the table, which was topped by Cambridgeshire.

With a whole squad of players unavailable, Bedfordshire fielded one of the youngest sides in the county's history - and one with the longest tails.

In two innings numbers seven to 11 contributed just 17 runs between them, blown away on both occasions by the speed and accuracy of Lincolnshire pace bowler Adam Shepherd, a Bedfordshire player last season.

Shepherd, comfortably the leading wicket-taker in the competition this season, finished with match figures of 12-86.

Without Martin Weightman, the latest young player to attract the attention of a first-class county following good performances for Bedfordshire - he was playing for Nottinghamshire second XI - the home attack was innocuous in comparison.

Nevertheless, Bedfordshire did well to pick up four bowling points by dismissing Lincolnshire for 271 in their first innings, Colin Griggs taking 4-62 and George Thurstance 3-45 to counter Karanjit Bansal’s rapid 95.

No-one bettered Oliver Clayson’s 25 as Bedfordshire collapsed from 103 for four to 127 all out, Shepherd claiming four wickets in four balls en route to figures of 7-29.

Although Bedfordshire avoided the follow-on, Dan Birch struck 128 from 92 balls to propel Lincolnshire to 282 for four declared in their second innings.

A target of 427 to win was improbable, at best, for the hosts, who were bowled out for 193 despite 95 from opener James Kettleborough. The last eight wickets went down for just 27 runs as Shepherd finished with 5-57.