Lincolnshire’s hopes of retaining their status in the National Counties Eastern Division One are on a knife-edge after they suffered a heavy defeat by Suffolk at Sleaford.
The visitors virtually dominated the entire match and their maximum haul of 24 points took them to the top of the Division One table.
Lincolnshire again made changes to their line-up, and on winning the toss elected to bat.
A steady start by Joe Kendall and Ross Carnelley saw them progress to 38 for the first wicket without any undue alarm.
The dismissal of Kendall at this total for 23 heralded a steady collapse for the Lincolnshire batting order with only Sam Evison, batting at number four, showing any resemblance of resistance, carrying his bat for 42.
A dire total of 160 in 49 overs was testament to some fine bowling and fielding by the Suffolk attack, led by Matt Wareing with 5 for 28.
Lincolnshire had lost their last five wickets for the addition of only 31 runs.
Suffolk’s innings was in complete contrast to that of the home side and, despite the loss of an early wicket, their next five batsmen recorded half-centuries to put them well in command.
Ironside and Young added 102 for their second wicket before the former was dismissed by Mark Footitt for 54. Young and Gatting added 121 for their third wicket before Young fell for 94, again to Footitt.
Gatting was dismissed shortly after also for 84.
Parker and Shepperson continued the dominance, adding 89 for the fifth wicket.
Lincolnshire now needed further wickets to obtain some precious bowling points, and Dan Freeman and James Dobson, with two wickets apiece, secured a vital three bowling points.
Suffolk, however, had continued to score freely and at the end of their allotted 90 overs had reached 404 for 8. Footitt with 4 for 106 off 26 overs was Lincolnshire’s most successful bowler.
With a deficit of 244, Lincolnshire now faced an uphill task to save the game.
The early dismissal of Carnelley and Evison did not augur well in this respect.
Kendall and Freeman then added some respectability to the situation with a stand of 81 for the third wicket before Kendall was bowled for 49.
Shortly after Freeman was dismissed for 47.
As in the first innings the Lincolnshire batting collapsed again with the last five wickets falling for just 28 runs.
A final total of 166 left Suffolk the victors by an innings and 82 runs.
Lincolnshire’s Division One status hangs in the balance.
Bottom placed Cambridgeshire are 11 points behind Lincolnshire and will almost certainly have to beat Norfolk next weekend to guarantee their survival and relegate Lincolnshire to Division Two.