Lincs CCC earn Championship victory in Hertfordshire as they move up to fifth

Lincolnshire CCC travelled to Hertfordshire to play the second of their Unicorns Eastern Division Championship fixtures of the season at Hertford CC.

Due to unavailability and injuries, Steve Crossley (Grimsby Town) and Joe Peck (Grantham) made their Championship debuts and Harry Warwick (Cleethorpes) returned to the side.

In the absence of the injured David Lucas, the side were captained by Carl Wilson (Bourne).

On an excellent batting wicket and a warm day Hertfordshire won the toss and put Lincolnshire in to bat.

From this point onwards until the final hour of the match the bat dominated the ball.

Lincolnshire started steadily and despite the early loss of Ross Carnelley (Grantham), Harry Warwick and Louis Kimber (Sleaford) added 142 for the first wicket, before Kimber was caught behind for 64.

Warwick and Dan Freeman (Grantham) then added 61 before Warwick was bowled agonisingly short of a century for 99.

Adam Tillcock (WI Cavaliers) joined Freeman and they both quickly got into their stride and attacked the Hertfordshire bowling.

They added 115 for the fourth wicket, Freeman completing 108 in 105 balls before being run out in the 84 th over.

Two more wickets fell quickly before Lincolnshire reached 379 for 6 in their allotted 90 overs with Tillcock undefeated on 74 from 78 balls.

By the close of play on day one Hertfordshire had progressed to 77 for 2 off 24 overs.

Day two was again warm and sunny and Hertfordshire took advantage of a fine batting surface.

Most of their batsmen made substantial scores as they worked their way towards Lincolnshire’s first innings total.

Dom Chatfield (69), Harry Palmer (56), Reece Hussain (54), Tanveer Sikander (46) and Steve Gale (42) all made significant contributions as Lincolnshire’s bowling attack tried to keep them in check.

On reaching the target of 325 for maximum batting points, the hosts declared on 327 for 6 in the 87 th over giving Lincolnshire a lead of 52 runs.

In their second innings Lincolnshire again lost Carnelley early, but Kimber and Warwick again starred adding 99 for the second wicket before they were both dismissed, Kimber for 47 and Warwick for 44.

Freeman and Tillcock continued as they had done in the first innings and by close of play on day two Lincolnshire were 220 for 3, a lead of 272.

Freeman was dismissed early on day three for 76 off 79 balls and had added 138 with Tillcock.

The latter carried on the attack and reached 106 off 121 balls before falling, whereupon Lincolnshire declared on 308 for 7 leaving Hertfordshire to score 364 for victory off a minimum 81 overs.

To many Hertfordshire supporters this was a very generous declaration and their views seemed correct as the home side progressed to over 200 without losing a wicket.

Opener Cooke fell to Freeman for 110 and with 18 overs remaining the hosts required 112 for victory.

It was at this point that Lincolnshire’s bowlers, Weightman and Freeman, put the Hertfordshire batsmen under pressure and backed by excellent fielding took six wickets for the addition of only 41 runs including that of Gale who made a fine 118.

By the close, the home side had reached 308 for 7, still 56 runs short of victory.

The points gained from this drawn fixture put Lincolnshire in fifth place in the Eastern Division with a game in hand over all of the four teams above them.

Lincolnshire’s next fixture is at Cleethorpes commencing on Sunday, July 17, when Suffolk are their opponents.