County lift championship title for a second season

editorial image

Lincolnshire have won the Eastern Division Championship for a second successive season — and are targeting further silverware.

The county, who will now meet Western Division winners Berkshire in the Championship play-off final, also play the same opposition in the final of the Knockout Trophy at Wormsley.

In their final three-day championship fixture against Hertfordshire at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire knew that seven points would be enough for the title.

Hertfordshire won the toss and elected to bat, but Lincolnshire’s bowlers struck quickly to reduce the visitors to 61 for four, then 108 for seven and 143 all out.

Pacemen Alex Willerton, who claimed five for 27, and Andy Carter with two for 24 destroyed the line-up inside 46 overs to earn maximum bowling points.

In reply, Louis Kimber and Dan Freeman were dismissed cheaply and at 58 for two Lincolnshire needed a strong partnership to put them in a commanding position.

Matt Lineker and Conrad Louth provided that, adding 96 before Louth was dismissed for 34. Lineker finally fell for a fine 98 (11 fours and three sixes) as Lincolnshire lost four late wickets to end the first day on 210 for six, having secured one batting point.

With two further batting points needed to secure the title, Dominic Brown and Carl Wilson set about the Hertfordshire attack the following day.

Runs flowed quickly with 40 coming in the first half-hour, and they finally reached 275 for six to secure the further two points and the title.

Brown was eventually dismissed for 60, having put on 96 with Wilson. Lincolnshire concluded their innings after their allotted 90 overs on 345 for eight, with Wilson not out for an excellent 87 off 103 balls.

In their second innings, Hertfordshire made better progress as the pitch became a fine batting surface.

The second day ended with Hertfordshire on 203 for seven, one run in front.

On day three the visitors extended their lead to 141 after being bowled out for 342.

In the final innings, at 43 for two Conrad Louth joined opener Louis Kimber in a stand of 42 before Louth was caught for 31. Adam Tillcock joined Kimber and they saw Lincolnshire to victory, Kimber making a fine 54 not out.