LINCOLNSHIRE CCC v BEDFORDSHIRE CCC
Lincolnshire entered their final Eastern Division Championship match of the season knowing that victory over Bedfordshire at Grantham would guarantee them a place in next season’s Eastern Division One.
On winning the toss, Bedfordshire elected to bat. Two early wickets by Usman Arshad put Lincolnshire on top and Adam Tillcock, captaining the side in the absence of Carl Wilson, then took the next four wickets to leave the visitors on 208 for 6. All the time, however, James Kettleborough stood firm passing 100 and finding strong support from the Bedfordshire lower order with Matt Taylor (29), George Darlow (46) and Jack Kilduff (46) putting the visitors’ total past 300. Kettleborough finally became Adam Tillcock’s sixth victim for a fine 154 as the visitors’ innings closed on 360 for 9 after their allotted ninety overs.
Lincolnshire had a tricky seventeen overs at least to negotiate before the close of day one. Openers Ben Coddington and Jack Timby took the total past 40 before Bedfordshire struck to take three quick wickets as Lincolnshire closed the day on 69 for 3.
Louis Kimber (Cleethorpes CC) and Nic Keast (Cuckney CC), both not out from overnight, began the task of putting Lincolnshire into a commanding position. This they did to devastating effect, steadily at first then completely dominating the Bedfordshire bowling attack. Together they added 209 for the fourth wicket before Keast was dismissed for 109, his maiden century for Lincolnshire. Kimber continued to attack and was seventh out for 177, an innings which was completed off 189 balls and contained 17 fours and 8 sixes. Usman Arshad added a quickfire 66 from 46 balls as Lincolnshire finished on 432 for 8 off their allotted ninety overs, a lead of 72.
By close of play on day two, Bedfordshire had reached 43 for 2, still 29 runs in arrears. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals on day three and only the Bedfordshire lower order of George Darlow (37) and Mark Wolstenholme(33) offered any great resistance. The visitors were finally dismissed for 203, Usman Arshad, Matt Carter and Adam Tillcock all obtaining three wickets.
Lincolnshire now required 132 for victory with plenty of time and overs remaining. The loss of two early wickets was a concern but Shiv Thakor (36 not out) and Sam Johnson (27 not out) saw the home county to victory by six wickets.
Lincolnshire took a maximum 24 points from the match and guaranteed themselves a place in the restructured Eastern Division One for next season.
Chairman, Lincolnshire CCC
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of John Van-der-Vord) showing Lincolnshire’s two centurions, Louis Kimber and Nic Keast.