Marvellous Marshalls are now clear favourites to be crowned champions of the Lincolnshire County League’s Fourth Division after a comprehensive victory over their closest rivals, Lindum 3rd.
At the start of play, only five points separated the two sides. But by the end, that gap had widened to 25 after Marshalls had skittled their visitors for just 87 in under 30 overs before racing to a nine-wicket success.
After winning the toss, captain Nath Plumtree elected to bowl on a soft, but drying, track, and his side’s strong bowling unit, headed by the returning Dan Norburn and ever-present Mark Raisborough, was soon doing the business.
The pair proved to be quick and accurate, with Norburn’s first ball of the match an outswinging delivery that clipped the top of opener Dan Hobson’s off-stump and his fifth ball finding the edge of Eddie Smith to provide a catch for wicketkeeper Jim Favill.
Not to be outdone, Raisborough also took a wicket in his first over, leaving Lindum 5-3 and setting the tone for the rest of the innings. As wickets continued to tumble, the score plunged to 40-8 and the only batsman to show any resistance was opener Dan Taylor, who made 34.
Taylor at last found a willing partner in tailender Matthew Brett, whose quickfire 22 helped him put on 41 for the ninth wicket. But once Joe Raisborough (2-22 in six overs) had enticed Taylor into one big shot too many, the end was nigh. Norburn finished with figures of 4-17 from nine overs, while Mark Naisborough returned 3-13 from seven overs.
Marshalls’ reply was bossed by opening bat Mark Whitlam, who was at his devastating best, pulling and cutting at every opportunity and quickly reaching his half-century in a first-wicket stand of 80 with Favill (19). As the young Lindum attack was comfortably tamed, Whitlam finished on 61no (12 fours), with the winning runs coming in the 17th over.
The outcome means that although Lindum still have a game in hand, they cannot overtake Marshalls even if they win it. Indeed they have surrendered second place now to Brigg Town.