Match report: Grimsby Town claim victory over league leaders Sleaford

Grimsby Nettleham match report

Match report: Grimsby Town claim victory over league leaders Sleaford

Grimsby Town Cricket Club defeated league leaders Sleaford at home by six wickets in an impressive display at the weekend.

Andrew White took five wickets before Dennis Buirman and captain Steve Crossley both scored half-centuries as Grimsby won with 14 overs to spare.

Town’s Augusta Street ground looked in great condition and Sleaford’s skipper Tom Shorthouse elected to bat first on a warm and sunny day. Sleaford’s top order went for their shots a little too early and the visitors found themselves 34 for three in the 14th over.

Opening bowlers Dan Cliffe and Rob Brice kept things tight for Grimsby and Cliffe trapped Mason Mansfield LBW for four. Sleaford’s overseas player Henry Cooper was also out for four, caught at mid-on by Toby Blake, as he looked to drive a ball from Brice. This was a valuable wicket for Town, as the New Zealand ‘A’ batsman was the league’s top run scorer in 2022.

Drew Harbron (11) survived a big appeal for LBW when Rory Ronaldson hit him on the foot, but the next ball he attempted to drive over the top and was caught by Brice at mid-off.

Opening batsman Connor Harbron battled hard for the visitors and made 45 from 93 balls, including eight fours. He added 60 runs for the fourth wicket in 13 overs with Shorthouse.

Off-spinner White came on for Town and bowled his best spell of the season. He flighted the ball well and spun it, having Connor Harbron caught off a leading edge by Neal Snell in the covers.

Shorthouse knew that he needed to bat through the innings to help his side post a competitive total. He made 45 from 63 balls and, with the score at 150 for six with nine overs remaining, he was looking to accelerate the scoring. White, though, induced a mistake from Shorthouse and Hayden Tice made a difficult catch look comfortable, catching the spinning ball inches from the ground, as he dived forward at backward point.

After Shorthouse departed, Sleaford’s innings lost momentum and they were grateful that number 10 Kieran Harbron came in to hit an undefeated 25 from only 20 balls.

Grimsby bowled and fielded well as a unit. White was the standout performer taking five for 27 from his 10 overs, helped by Buirman and wicketkeeper Crossley, who took two catches each.

Sleaford finished on 185 for nine from their 50 overs.

Grimsby batted positively throughout their innings. They lost openers Snell and Blake for single-figure scores, but Crossley promoted Dennis Buirman to bat at three. The left-hander, who has joined the club from Alford, hit the ball powerfully and scored a “run a ball” 61. He struck one six and 10 fours.

Buirman put pressure on the opposition bowlers and fielders. He was quick to punish any short balls and keen to sweep the spinners. Using his feet well he hit Cooper’s off-spin for an effortless straight six. In the end, a sweep shot brought about his downfall, as Shorthouse hit him on the pads with a full delivery.

Kasun Ekanayake (20), who had added 59 for the third wicket with Buirman in only 10 overs, departed shortly after, as he was caught by Cooper at slip off a ball from Shorthouse that bounced and turned. Shorthouse was the visitors’ most successful bowler, taking two for 30 from his 10 overs.

Crossley and White still had plenty of work to do when they came together, as 83 runs were still needed. They batted very confidently and saw their side to a comfortable win.

Crossley hit the ball well from the start and finished 55 not out from 60 balls. A good player of spin, he was quick to hit any short deliveries and timed the ball nicely. His innings included one six over square leg and seven fours.

White and Crossley ran positively between the wickets and the former Louth allrounder scored 23 not out from 39 balls, as 84 runs were added in 15 overs.

Report by David Evans

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