Lincs ECB Premier: Keast stars as Louth earn Skegness draw

Louth First XI fought out a draw with Skegness at London Road as injuries reduced them to eight fit batsmen for their reply.

Skipper Andy Carrington won the toss and put the visitors into bat in the day’s most bowler-friendly conditions.

The opening bowlers were made to wait for their first wicket with Pradeep Chanditha deciding attack was the best form of defence.

The Skegness openers made a quickfire 50 before a bowling change saw Tom Corden snare the first wicket, caught and bowled.

Chanditha (67) scored freely through point and third man in a high-quality battle with Corden who caused the Skegness top order plenty of problems.

Louth did well to claw their way back and took control as Skegness slipped from 80-1 to 150-8, mainly thanks to the off-spin of young Nic Keast who claimed his second five-wicket haul in the ECB Premier League.

At the other end, Carrington claimed 3 for 63, but Keast took star billing, using his skills and pace variations on a slow, flat pitch to claim 5 for 62.

Louth returned to overseas Keaton Critchell hoping to finish the innings off with extra pace and bounce, but number 10 bat Umar Farooq lifted Skegness to full batting points with 52 off 39 balls.

The visitors were all out for 232 with just two balls left of the innings, a higher than par score on a pitch becoming tougher to score freely on as the game went on.

Fielding injuries left Louth without two of their batsmen, and the hosts started poorly with West Indian quick Ray Jordan removing John Medler and Keaton Critchell for single figures (13-2).

But 15-year-old Richard Bell showed high quality technique and, more importantly, courage to overcome Jordan’s hostile barrage.

Bell and Scott built a 50-run partnership, but both will ultimately regret not kicking on further, both caught for 25.

Tom Corden and Graham West formed Louth’s second of three half=century partnerships, yet when Corden went for 27, Louth’s innings looked like it could take a turn for the worst judging by previous matches.

Man-of-the-match Keast (31 not out) worked the ball well alongside Louth stalwart Graham West who added 48 not out to his four dismissals. Both batsman chose to stick rather than twist to earn a valuable 11 points and limit Skegness to a winning draw.

Louth travel to Woodhall Spa on Saturday seeking a much-needed win and looking to build on their fielding standards, set higher this week by debutant Dean Wright. 

Many thanks to club sponsors Kenwick Park and matchball sponsor Tetney Golf Club.

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