The semi-finals of the ECB County Board Premier League and the Challenge Trophy final take place this weekend.
With the end of the domestic season in sight, we turn our attention to the final stages of both the Wilkinson Trophy and the Challenge Trophy. The Wilkinson trophy semi-finals see Grantham vs Bracebridge and Bourne vs Lindum, while the challenge Trophy sees Caistor take on Cleethorpes 2nds.
Grantham Vs Bracebridge Heath
This game looks set to be a good affair as both teams come into the game in good form, Bracebridge having won their last 4 games and Grantham being undefeated so far this campaign. Will Bracebridge be able to break the streak and advance to the semi-finals? Lets take a look at each sides season so far and assess which players could have the biggest impact on the game.
First let’s start with the visitors. The Peacocks had quite a disappointing start to the season as they lost all 3 of their opening fixtures, but since then they have picked up quite a bit of form and have won 4 on the bounce defeating Scunthorpe Town, Louth, Woodhall Spa and Market Deeping. This recent form has come with some stand out performances that saw the Lincoln side claim the final play-off spot with their win over Market Deeping. Some of the top performances for Bracebridge have included 5-17 for Alex Moor vs Woodhall Spa and 107 for opener Martyn Dobson vs Louth. This patch of form came at the best possible time as it helped them to defeat Louth and claim the final spot.
Grantham however, could prove to be a formidable opponent for the Peacocks as they come into the game undefeated having won 6 of their 7 games with 1 abandoned. As one of the strongest sides in the competition, they are going to be a tough nut to crack. Star players Mark Footitt and Jaden Fell will be thy key to Grantham’s performance this weekend, providing they can continue their impressive performances so far this year.
So, who are the players to watch out for in this game?
- Martyn Dobson- Martyn is the second highest run scorer in the competition and his experience has been crucial so far this season for Bracebridge.
- Alex Moor- The young spinner has shown his class this year taking 12 wickets, including putting in the performance of the seasons so far with the ball. His batting is not one to look directly past either as his huge six against Market Deeping helped Bracebridge to the victory.
- Andrew Carter- As another one of Bracebridge’s seasoned players, Carter has been a massive contributor to the Peacocks bowling claiming 15 wickets so far this season, Carter is one to watch out for this weekend.
- Mark Footitt– The veteran fast bowler has been one of the standout bowlers so far taking 15 wickets at an average of just over 8. The former Notts player has certainly been a shining light for Grantham so far this year.
- Curtis Free- In his first season as a Grantham player, Free has been a threat with the ball. Having taking 7 wickets, he is always a threat.
- Jaden Fell- The Grantham opener has been a a solid performer this year, averaging over 23 with the bat. The Lincolnshire player is one to watch out for this Saturday and will be hoping to help his home town club over the line.
When the 2 sides met back in July it was Grantham who came out on top in a rain effected affair but Bracebridge will be looking to continue their good run of form and pick up the win.
This game can be followed live on Play Cricket or via the live match day blog on Lincolnshire Cricket’s Facebook page and on the Linc’s Cricket website www.lincscricket.co.uk
Bourne Vs Lindum
Like the Bracebridge Vs Grantham, this one looks to be an affair with both sides being in good form. This time however the home side don’t come into the game in quite the same shape as Grantham having won 2 of their last 4. Bourne will however be looking to get that form back on track and inflict Lindum’s first defeat of the season.
Bourne started the seasons in fine fashion was a dominant 9 wicket victory against Sleaford and followed it up again the next week defeating Bracebridge by 5 wickets. This form dipped briefly as they lost two of their next 3 games, to Grantham and Boston. Their form did return however for the final 2 games saw the win at home to Market Deeping then away to Sleaford to claim the final play-off spot.
In the meantime, this weekend’s opponents where having a rather different season. Lindum started their season away against Market Deeping and picked up a 7-wicket victory, with Will Wright getting the first runs of what has been an impressive season so far for the opener. Lindum kept up their impressive form winning the remainder of their games and finishing top with 5 victories and 2 game abandoned. Can they continue this impressive form and win the Wilkinson Trophy?
So, who are the players to watch out for in this game?
- Peter Morgan- A veteran, Morgan has showed his importance to Bourne scoring 220 runs to date. His experience and wealth of knowledge has helped lead Bourne to the final 4.
- Martin Hodgson- As the top wicket taker in the competition, Hodgson has been valuable and, at times lethal with the ball claiming 16 wickets so far this campaign. If anyone can end William Wright and Lindum’s fantastic form surely, it’s this man.
- William Wright- As the top run scorer in the league, Wright has a fantastic season scoring over 400 runs with the bat at a very impressive average of over 135. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.
- Pieces Morley-Barnes- As the opening partner to Wright, Barnes’ contributions have been somewhat overshadowed but he is not a player to taken lightly. Having produced one of the performances of the season with his 107 vs Bourne last time out, can he do it again and help guide Lindum into the final?
This game can be watched live on Play Cricket or Lindum’s YouTube channel, as well through the live match day blog on the Lincs Cricket website and Facebook. Full details on how to watch the live stream tomorrow will be posted on the Lincs Cricket Facebook page.
As with the first semi-final there will be a live match day blog on www.lincscricket.co.uk that you can follow to keep up to date with all the action.
Caistor Vs Cleethorpes 2nds
This weekend sees the final of the Challenge Trophy as Caistor take on Cleethorpes 2nds at Barton Town CC. Both teams got there season off to a good start with a 175 run win and 8 wicket victory on the first day of the season. Unfortunately, Cleethorpes couldn’t keep up the run of form as they fell to a 7-wicket defeat at the hands of Grimsby Town, while Caistor picked up a 3 wicket win away at Holton Le Clay.
Cleethorpes 2nds then went on to win 3 of their last 4 games having had the other game abandoned. Saturday’s opponents however, have been unbeaten all season so Cleethorpes could be in for a tough game.
For live updates on Saturday’s games keep your eyes peeled on Lincolnshire Cricket’s Facebook page and on www.lincscricket.co.uk
By George Conway