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Staffordshire hold on

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Dan Birch

Dan Birch's second-innings 59 allowed Lincolnshire to declare on the final day, but Staffordshire held on by the skin of their teeth

Captain Paul Goodwin played a pivotal role as Staffordshire earned an improbable draw by the narrowest of margins at Lincolnshire in the Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division.

Number seven Goodwin occupied the crease for 154 second-innings deliveries for 75 as his side recovered from 45 for five to close on 221 for nine at Sleaford.

The hosts had declared their second innings on 182 for four, setting Staffs a challenging 323 to win from 78 overs, of which opener Dan Birch contributed 59 and Matt Dowman 59 not out.

Lincs again benefited from opening the bowling with leg-spinner Alex Osmond, who bowled James Campbell round his legs.

From 35 for one, Staffs quickly lost four wickets with Kadeer Ali, Atiq Chishti, Aaron Jeavons and Jimmy Dawson departing.

However, an outstanding sixth-wicket partnership of 108 between Goodwin and Peter Wilshaw boosted their survival hopes.

With the final hour's play approaching, Wilshaw was disappointed to be adjudged lbw for 37 and he left the field looking at his bat after his resolute 130-ball innings.

Greg Willott’s wicket quickly followed to give Dowman a second success in his spell and leave Staffs rocking once more as the final 17 overs of the game began.

Goodwin's defiant 170-minute stay at the crease finally came to end as, having had to take evasive action from a beamer bowled by paceman Adam Shepherd, he was out next ball as he fended off a short pitched delivery from the same bowler to give wicketkeeper Ollie Burford a simple catch.

Lincs still had 12 overs to claim the last two wickets, but it was not until the final ball of the match that the ninth-wicket pair of Paul Byrne and Richard Hassall was broken, with Hassall dismissed for a fine 29. Osmond and Shepherd each took three wickets.

After a seriously curtailed opening day of three, Lincs recovered from a perilous 136 for six to reach 293 in an extended second day, aided by an unbeaten 69 from Conrad Louth. For Staffs Atiq Chishti and Hassall both claimed three wickets.

Staffs were also in deep trouble in their first innings at 81 for six, but edged past the follow-on target before finally being dismissed for 153. Osmond was the pick of the home attack with 4-46.