Victory in both of their Unicorns T20 matches against Staffordshire at Scunthorpe virtually assured Lincolnshire CCC of their place in the finals day of the competition at Wormsley in August.
In the first of the two matches, Lincolnshire batted first and were principally indebted to Usman Arshad who made 53 off 25 balls (6 fours and 3 sixes) to propel them to 165 for 8 in their allotted 20 overs. Six other Lincolnshire batsmen reached double figures, the highest of which was Joe Kendall with 27. Staffordshire were well on target to pass this total principally due to a fine 62 by Ryan Hassett. Once he was dismissed by Danny Cliffe, their run chase faltered and tight bowling at the close of the innings saw them on 148 for 9, leaving Lincolnshire winners by 17 runs. Danny Cliffe with 3 for 23 was Lincolnshire’s most successful bowler.
In the second match Lincolnshire again batted first and at 73 for 7 in the thirteenth over looked in danger of losing. At this point Nic Keast joined Carl Wilson and together they added an unbroken 56 for the eighth wicket, Keast 37 not out and Wilson 26 not out. Lincolnshire’s total of 129 for 7 looked on the low side bearing in mind the scores in the first match. Fine opening spells of bowling by Alex Willerton and Danny Cliffe put Staffordshire on the back foot and the required run rate rose as wickets fell. No Staffordshire batsman totalled more than 16 as they were dismissed in the eighteenth over for 72. Nic Keast with 3 for 9 and Louis Kimber 3 for 25 were Lincolnshire’s most successful bowlers but the opening overs by Alex Willerton (4 overs, 2 for 9) and Danny Cliffe were crucial in putting Staffordshire on the back foot.
Lincolnshire now top their group having won all six of their matches and with a far superior run rate to their nearest challengers, Cumberland.
Lincolnshire’s next fixture is on Sunday, 16 June when they meet Cheshire in two T20 matches at New Brighton.