Professional Empingham stay second

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Empingham consolidated second spot in the Grantham League with a professional performance and an eight wicket victory at home to beat Woolsthorpe on Sunday.

Empingham bowled first on another splendid Mal Smith wicket, with a rapid outfield.

Conditions seemed set for a runfest and Woolsthorpe got off to a decent start with some early boundaries through a 10-man field. However once the tardy Dave McKevitt arrived, his presence seemed to have a calming influence on proceedings with a succession of tight overs.

Olly Elson bowled with great accuracy and along with Freddie Turner was able to keep the batsmen quiet.

Despite finding the edge frequently, neither bowler was able to make the breakthrough but they limited Woolsthorpe to just 60 after 20 overs. Elson finished with miserly figures of 10-0-18.

McKevitt and Danny O’Kane entered the fray as the batsmen attempted to up the rate and play some big shots. However, this increased aggression caused a mix-up in the running and the partnership was broken.

McKevitt began to find good seam movement and found the second wicket, after some sharp work behind the stumps from Coburn.

The ball of the game followed next, clipping the top of the off stump and his third wicket followed soon after.

O’Kane, who struggled at first to find his length, then picked up his first wicket with another good catch from Tom Cooper and the middle order had been blown apart.

Woolsthorpe opener Ben Ryder remained and reached a deserved century, ending on 111 and scoring a majority of his team’s 160.

In reply, Turner and Coburn survived the early onslaught, both hitting a couple of pleasing boundaries.

In consecutive overs, they both knicked off for 14, leaving Empingham at 35 for 2 but leading run scorers Baz Sharp and Tom Cooper formed a match-winning partnership.

Sharp took a couple on the body from some hostile bowling as the two saw off the opening attack, before moving through the gears.

Cooper (57) smashed a couple of flat sixes over the off side while Sharp (50) began to pierce the ball through the covers and the pair saw Empingham home with 10 overs in hand.