ECB Premier League Preview (04.09.2020)

Lindum and Grantham have taken the top spots in the Division North and South of the Wilkinson Trophy but the other two spots are all to play for.

As the sun turns to rain and the nights close in, the end of the ECB Premier League season looms with just one round of fixtures left to play and two more spots to play for before the semi-final play offs take place on September 12.

Division North

In the North, Lindum have taken the number one spot and have claimed the first of two available play-off places in the Wilkinson Trophy, despite last week’s fixture away at Scunthorpe falling victim to the rain. The Lincoln based side have acquired 20 points from the season so far, winning 4 and having had 2 games abandoned.

Despite the first spot already being claimed, the second spot is all to play for with both Bracebridge Heath and Louth breathing down the neck of second place. However, Bracebridge are in the driver’s seat for this position despite both sides being on 12 points, after beating Louth 2 weeks ago thanks to a Martyn Dobson century. This means that if the Peacocks and Louth finish on the same amount of points then the Peacocks will take the final play off place.

So, if you want to see the sides battle for that illustrious spot, you can see Bracebridge in action away at Market Deeping or Louth at home to Division South leaders Grantham, with both games starting at noon.

Division South

In the south the situation is very much the same as Grantham join Lindum in the semi-finals topping the Division South table and taking one of only two spots available in the play offs.

Grantham top the table with 22 points, having won 5 games and just 1 game abandoned. Second place in the division is currently occupied by Bourne with 14 points, but by the end of the weekend this all could have changed as Sleaford and Boston are putting pressure on second place, sitting in third and fourth respectively with 12 points each. To secure this spot however Sleaford need to beat Bourne on Saturday while Boston must pick up a win at Division North leaders Lindum.

Much like in the North however, results mean everything, as if Boston win and Bourne lose to Sleaford all teams will end up on 14 points. This would result in Boston making the playoffs as they have beaten both Sleaford and Bourne so far this campaign.

Players to Watch

So, who are the key players and who are the players to keep any eye on during the final round of fixtures?

Richard Bell- The keeper turned bowler has proved good for Louth so far this season, scoring 278 runs and taking eight wickets. His ability with both bat and ball is not one to look past this weekend as he and his side aim for the play-offs.

Scott Ellleray- The opening bowler is the joint leading wicket taker so far with 12 alongside team mate Martin Hodgson, and has best competition figures of 4-18. He looks to be one of the spearheads of the Boston push alongside team mates Jonathan Cheer and Hodgson.

Alex Moor- The young Lincolnshire CCC bowler has been looking good through the campaign. He has taken 10 wickets and last weekend produced the best bowling performance taking 5-17 against Woodhall Spa. Can he produce another performance like that to take the Peacocks to the play offs?

Peter Morgan- Morgan is Bourne’s leading run scorer so far, scoring just shy of 200 runs, at an average of 49.50. This is the veteran’s 10th year playing in Bourne’s first team and it seems that his experience is paying off helping his side push for that final available spot.

Thomas Shorthouse- Producing one of the standout performances of the tournament with his 138 against Woodhall Spa, Shorthouse looks to be one of Sleaford’s key players in their fight for the last play-off position.

So, with the weekend fast approaching and the suspense rising, everyone has their eyes firmly locked on who is going to finish in those last sought-after play-off spots.

By George Conway