Match report: Grimsby Town claim five-wicket victory over Nettleham

Grimsby Nettleham match report

Match report: Grimsby Town claim five-wicket victory over Nettleham

Grimsby Town secured a convincing victory at home to Nettleham at the weekend.

Town won by five wickets at Augusta Street, as they tasted victory for the first time since being promoted back to the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League.

In a low-scoring match, Grimsby bowled out the visitors for 135 and passed that target in the 32nd over to claim maximum points.

The hosts won the toss and it was no surprise that captain Steve Crossley asked Nettleham to bat first after some overnight rain.

Their opening batsman Darius Govender drove the first ball of the match for four, but Town’s bowler Dan Cliffe persisted with pitching the ball up. Bowling full and straight, he was rewarded as he clean-bowled Govender with his fifth ball and then also removed Oliver Ward and Tom High in the same way.

Grimsby’s opening bowlers have performed well in all their matches, whichever combination has been used. Against Nettleham, Rob Brice shared the new ball with Cliffe and he took out the middle order, claiming three for 26 from his 10 overs, including a double-wicket maiden in his final over. Cliffe finished with three for 21 and Nettleham were in deep trouble at 39 for six in the 20th over.

Nettleham’s captain Rhett Bridgens, who is always a difficult batsman to dislodge, showed the determination and technique needed to bat on early-season pitches. Even he needed a bit of fortune, though, as wicketkeeper Crossley was convinced he had him stumped on 11 off Gary Tillison.

Bridgens got to 34 off 87 balls but was frustrated when he hit a full-toss from spinner Liam Redmond straight to Dan Cliffe, who held the catch at short mid-wicket.

Nettleham’s eighth wicket pair of AJ Cook and Husnain Gul staged a fightback, as they added 52 runs in 11 overs. Gul scored a “run a ball” 26, including two straight sixes but was run out thanks to the quick thinking of Crossley to throw the ball down to the non-striker’s end.

Cook, who is only 19, carried his bat, making 34 off 83 balls before running out of partners.

When Grimsby came in to bat, they saw Toby Blake run out for nine after attempting a rather ambitious all-run four. His opening partner Dan Cliffe made 21, including three well-timed boundaries.

Cliffe, who had been dropped by Bridgens at slip off Cook – when he had made six – was caught behind by Govender when Gul entered the attack. Gul swung the ball a great deal but lacked direction and control. His five-over spell included 20 wides.

Grimsby’s Sri Lankan overseas player Kasun Ekanayake came in at three and, after playing himself in, he began to attack the bowling. The left-hander hit six fours and upped the tempo, as he made 34 from 37 balls. Alongside Neal Snell, he added 55 for the third wicket in eight overs.

Ekanayake smashed Gul through backward point for four and hit two boundaries off Ward, including a powerful shot down the ground. He looked on his way to a half-century but top-edged a “long hop” from Milan Sebastian and was well caught by Hayden Bromfield.

The dismissal of Ekanayake, with 44 runs left to get, could have led to a few Grimsby nerves, but captain Crossley came in and finished the job off. Crossley scored an unbeaten 27 from 34 balls, hitting a full-toss from Sebastian over long-on for a big six and then the winning boundary off the bowling of Bromfield.

Report by David Evans

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