POSITIVE: Charlie Kearns (second-from-left). Photo supplied

Kearns: Town can mix it with Lincs ECB big boys

POSITIVE: Charlie Kearns (second-from-left). Photo supplied

POSITIVE: Charlie Kearns (second-from-left). Photo supplied

Towering Spalding Town bowler Charlie Kearns is expecting a tight title race in this year’s Lincs ECB Premier League.

The seamer, who took two wickets in Saturday’s rain-hit losing draw against Bourne at Spalding Grammar School, feels there’s nothing to choose between the top six teams.

Spalding slipped from second to fourth after last weekend’s six point haul – which was the first time they haven’t taken the lion’s share of the points this season.

Kearns said: “I don’t think there is much in it this year between the top five or six teams.

“I feel like anyone can beat anyone and there is no clear cut favourite, which will hopefully make it a really good season.”

Two of the six teams Kearns believes will make up the top six went face-to-face at the weekend.

Town won the toss and elected to bat first, which proved no problem for big-hitting Bourne.

They racked up 260-5 thanks to top knocks from Stuart Airey (81), Carl Wilson (46), Peter Morgan (41) and Ben Stroud (38).

Kearns (2-71) and Thivanka Rajaratne (2-69) were the pick of the Town bowlers.

In reply, Rajaratne (58) top scored as Spalding reached 176-8.

But it was defiant knocks from skipper Rob Ambrose (25no) and Jack Barratt (20) towards the end that stopped Colin Cheer (5-66) and his Bourne team-mates from taking the two wickets they needed to win.

Still, the visitors walked away with 17 points from the clash, which moves them two points ahead of Spalding in the early standings.

Kearns was impressed with what he saw from Bourne, but felt key moments went against his side.

He added: “It was a good game. There were a couple of moments that could have changed the game, a couple of dropped catches and a caught behind not given just when we could have started to put on some pressure.

“That would have stopped the momentum in their main partnership and could have been a big difference. Airey batted well though, I don’t remember him giving away any chances.

“Rajaratne was brilliant to watch for us – his 50 came up in the seventh over of our innings. That’s not something you see every week!

“It wasn’t my best game of the season, I was a bit expensive in my opening spell with the ball but ended up with my target of two wickets for the game so it wasn’t all bad.”

Next up for Spalding is another heavyweight clash – in the shape of a trip to defending champions Sleaford on Saturday (noon).

Town go into the match a point ahead of their South Lincolnshire rivals, but will have to stop ex-New Zealand international Tim McIntosh from firing if they are to grab another positive result.

“Sleaford will be a good game this week,” added Kearns. “If we can get McIntosh out early, I feel like we will be in with a very good chance of geting back on winning terms.

“The wicket should suit us, so hopefully it will be in for a high-scoring game.”

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