CRICKET: Champions open with a win

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SOUTH Lincolnshire and Border League champions Billingborough finally began the defence of their title at the weekend.

Last season’s top side enjoyed a four wicket win over newly-promoted Skegness 2nd for whom Alistair Ainsworth made 68.

However the early league leaders are Spalding, who won at Stamford to go clear at the top with the tightest of victories.

Batting first, Spalding struggled against the bowling of Steve Armstrong and the skills of wicketkeeper Andrew Hulme. Armstrong took five for 49 and Hulme bagged five stumpings to help restrict the visitors to 142, of which Matt Hendry hit 46.

But Stamford also found runs hard to come by and despite the efforts of Armstrong (23) and Hulme (33) with the bat, the last wicket fell three runs short of the target.

Elsewhere, Lindum Ramblers and Sleaford 2nd both recorded victories with Sleafordbeating Market Deeping 2nd XI by three runs.

In Division two Baston lost a low-scoring game against Boston 2nd XI. Baston’s innings never really got started and they were dismissed for 89. Boston’s Haffi Mazhar took five for 12 as Baston folded.

Blankney’s campaign got off to a good start with an eight wicket victory over Spalding 2nd. And Thomas Cook beat Cavaliers by five wickets.

Division Three hosted the tightest game of the day as newcomers Welby 2nd failed by just two runs to match Pinchbeck’s total of 110.

But it was success for the other new teams - Friskney’s opening game in the league brought a three wicket win over Boston 3rd and Lindum Academy scored a 60 run win over Grantham 2nd.

Results

Division One: Spalding 142, Stamford Town 139; Lindum Ramblers 144-9, Woodhall Spa 2nd 106; Market Deeping 2nd 116-6, Sleaford 2nd 119-3; Skegness 2nd 189-8 (Ainsworth 68, Nuttal 78), Billingborough 190-6 (Gollop 69no); Belton Park v Grantham – off, waterlogged pitch; Moulton Harrox v Bourne 2nd – off, waterlogged pitch.

Division Two: Baston 89, Boston 2nd 90-4; Billingborough 2nd 85, Stamford Town 2nd 58; Spalding 2nd 77, Blankney 78-2;

Cavaliers 134-9, Thomas Cook 135-5.

Division Three: Boston 3rd 128, Friskney 131-7; Lindum Academy 235-7, Grantham 2nd 175; Pinchbeck 100, Welby 2nd 98; North Luffenham v Spalding – off waterlogged pitch; Timberland v Claypole – off, waterlogged pitch.