Spalding Town missed out on securing back-to-back South Lincs and Border League Premier Division titles after coming up short in their winner-takes-all tussle at Bourne 2nd on Saturday.
Town, who could have clinched the crown the previous week but slipped up against Skegness, saw their total of 143 chased down by the hosts at the Abbey Lawn.
That left Bourne 2nd as league champions by the narrow margin of just eight points, with Spalding now having to wait and see if second place will be good enough to see them promoted back to the Lincs ECB Premier Division.
Having won the toss, Town skipper Jon Miles elected to have a bat – but saw opener Rob Ambrose edge Tom Patchett (4-55) behind for a duck.
Key man Josh Newton (6) was then bowled by Patchett, who also got the wicket of opener Joe Broomfield for 19.
With Miles out to Adam Hilless (2-24) for just four, Spalding were really up against it early on.
Jon Manton (21) and Matt Gill (30) came together to rebuild the innings, while important knocks down the order from Peter Cook (15) and Jamie Juckes (18 not out) ensured that Town at least made it to 143 before being bowled out in the 43rd over.
Richard Hewitt (4-23) was key in wrapping up the Spalding tail and giving Bourne a big chance of glory.
Spalding made the perfect start to the defence of their tally, with Juckes (2-33) trapping James Tickler for a duck first up.
Juckes also had Rob Bentley caught by Broomfield for just 19, but Town found the going tough after that.
Josh Bentley (50) and Hewitt (40 not out) steadied the ship and almost reached the target together before the former was dismissed by Miles (1-45).
That allowed Ben Woodward (2 not out) to join Hewitt and the pair eased Bourne home in the 35th over with seven wickets in hand.
It was a tough way for Spalding to finish a superb season, but they’ll hope to have done enough for promotion.
- Fellow SLBL Premier Division side Long Sutton came up short in an exciting run chase against Freiston at Paradise Field on Saturday.
After opting to bat, Usman Ahmed (77), Abdul Moeed (56), Zeeshan Saeed (44) and Sunil Panjwani (38) all scored very well to help Freiston post an imposing 311-7 from their 45 overs.
Sutton spinner Jake Burton (4-70) had the best figures on the day, while Beau Newman (2-42) also picked up a couple of scalps.
Despite losing Luke Barnes for five early on, Sutton’s top order all fired as they looked to score quickly.
Barry Stanway (67), Dan Oldfield (45), Adam Wright (40) and Angus Bell (31) scored well, but Ashok Kumar’s (6-56) ensured that they were eventually all out for 249 in the penultimate over, some 62 runs short.
- Down in SLBL Division Two, top shows from Ed Munson (4-37) and Charlie Crisp (53) couldn’t stop Long Sutton 2nd (117) losing at Sleaford 3rd (194).