In-form Spalding Town moved up to second in the Lincs ECB Premier League after a winning draw (7) against old foes Billingborough on Satuday.
Having won the toss and elected to bat, visitors Town racked up 212 after inspired knocks from Thivanka Rajaratne (82) and all-rounder Charlie Kearns (31).
Warren Nel (22) was dismissed for the first time this season, but Spalding proved they could deliver without him. That was despite a super display from Boro’s Roy Tilley (5-63).
In reply, the hosts just about batted out their 50 overs, closing on 178-9. Steve Scott (57) top scored, while Rajaratne (5-49), Kearns (2-41) and Nuwan Jayasena (2-35) did the damage with the ball.
Ambrose said: “It was a fairly entertaining game. We probably should have finished them off, but you have to give credit to Billingborough – they dug in well.
“We lost a few quick wickets in a row in the middle order, which last year usually meant we’d collapse.
“But we dug in and managed to set a target of more than 200, which was always likely to be defendable with our spinners.
“I thought it was pretty clever of them to put Dave Newman and Steve Scott in the middle order. They are obviously set up to be hard to beat – a bit like us last season.
“Steve batted very well and I think they’re going about things the right way.
“I can’t be too disappointed – if you’d offered me second place after three games I’d have snapped your hand off!”
Next up for high-flying Town are a trio of tough tests – Bourne on Saturday (home, noon), champions Sleaford away, May 17) and perennial heavyweights Woodhall Spa (home, May 24).
Although it’s early days in the season, the Ambrose reckons that the results of those clashes could shape their season.
The Spalding skipper added: “They next three games are big ones. If we can get through those unscathed, there’s no reason why we can’t challenge at the top end of the table.
“Bourne look to be playing to their potential this year and they’ll be hard to beat.”
Chris Dring is Town’s only absentee. He’ll be replaced by young gun David Thomas.
- Spalding Town booked their place in the final of the Lincs Twenty/20 Cup with an impressive seven-wicket win over Lincoln on Monday.
Chasing 157-7 to win, Warren Nel’s unbeaten 77 guided Spalding to 158-3 to secure their place at the May 26 finals at Sleaford.
Bourne, Billingborough and Bracebridge Heath have also qualified.