A defiant ton from Conrad Louth enabled Bourne to stay in control of the Lincs Premier Division title race yesterday (August 30).
Louth has been short of league runs by his own lofty standards in recent weeks, but he came good when Bourne needed it at Bracebridge Heath.
The hosts, who needed to win to maintain their own title challenge, had taken advantage of some loose Bourne bowling to pile up 252 before reducing their visitors to 19-2 and 45-3, but Louth (106) and fellow Lincolnshire Minor Counties player Carl Wilson (69) added 128 for the fourth wicket to steer the leaders to safety at 227-7.
Bourne now have a 21-point lead over second-placed Lincoln, who were winners yesterday, with two matches to go and the teams meet on the final day of the season.
First Bourne have to navigate their way past neighbours Market Deeping at the Abbey Lawns next weekend (September 6). Deeping warmed up for that clash by breaking a three-game losing streak at the expense of struggling Billingborough.
Chris Jones (87) did the bulk of Deeping’s scoring in a total of 182-9 at Outgang Road before Tom Andrews (5-18 from 17 overs) ripped through Billingborough’s batting.
Billingborough have yet to win a game this season and nor had bottom club Market Rasen before they hosted Spalding yesterday.
Spalding, who had designs on a creditable top-half finish, were shot out for 97 on the way to a seven-wicket defeat.
BRACEBRIDGE HEATH drew with BOURNE
Bracebridge Heath 252 (C. Stubbs 68, J. Bentley 53, B. Stroud 4-35, J. Keywood 3-51).
Bourne 227-7 (C. Louth 106, C. Wilson 69).
MARKET DEEPING beat BILLINGBOROUGH by 97 runs
Market Deeping 182-9 (C. Jones 87).
Billingborough 85 (T. Andrews 5-18).
MARKET RASEN beat SPALDING by 7 wkts
Market Rasen 97-3