LAXTON Park and visitors Long Sutton served up a treat as the last of the summer sun beamed down upon Laxton’s tranquil ground on Sunday.
Sutton needed to a win to ensure promotion to Division 3 so Laxton took on the role of potential party poopers.
After their long trek from South Holland, Sutton won the toss and decided to stretch their legs in the field.
Opening bowler Paul Edgeller was looking for his 50th wicket in League and Cup this season, while fellow opener Ed Munson was playing his first game at this level and the two operated a tight line and length in restricting Laxton’s opening pair of Hales and Renton.
The slow start soon got the better of Hales as he fell victim to Munson, and he was soon followed back to the pavilion by Jacob Howe.
With Laxton struggling at 30 for 2, it was left to Robert Howe and Renton to re-build the innings.
Ian Morris and leg spinner Jake Burton came on as first change for Long Sutton and they continued where the openers had left off. Morris, bowling left arm over, kept a tight line arcing in to the right handed batsmen. Burton, while throwing in the odd long hop or full toss, probed full and straight, hoping for one to spit or sneak through.
Morris got his reward at the end of the 20th over, a straight ball beating Renton between bat and pad. Burton continued to be punished at the other end for any poor delivery, however, as Howe pulled him twice for sixes. Just as he looked set in his innings though, he succumbed; caught and bowled from a long hop for 34.
Skipper Will Kinnear entered the fray with Laxton spluttering its way to 80 for 4 but after plundering a huge six, he too fell, gifting Morris his second wicket of the innings.
Angus Boyle, on a rare appearance this season, continued to plug away at the other end as he made his way to 16 until he fell caught behind from the first ball of Edgeller’s second spell; an unplayable delivery.
It was left to Phil Dobbs (39*) and Rupert Boyle (8*) to ensure Laxton posted a reasonable total and Park ended on 147 for 8; a decent total and still one which would need steady heads, but one which promotion-seeking sides ought to be well capable of chasing.
There was still much to play for as youngster Jacob Howe and the returning Angus Boyle sought to end the season on a high note and the home side thought they had their first wicket as Long Sutton’s Andrew Wright appeared to have gloved behind in the opening over. But their appeal fell on deaf ears.
Howe soon had his breakthrough however, as fellow opener Taylor was caught in the covers in the next over.
The visitors then built momentum through Wright and Coote as they moved past 50 in the 8th over.
With Laxton needing wickets, captain Kinnear threw the ball to club stalwart Robert Howe and this change soon bore fruit as he captured two wickets in consecutive deliveries; opener Andrew Wright, and then Adam Wright, both falling lbw.
With Phil Coote still at the crease, and with others contributing, Long Sutton ambled towards their modest target. Boyle was brought back on and bought himself two wickets as Howe continued his fine spell with the wickets of Coote (39) and Edgeller, ending the innings with an impressive 4 for 42.
With the scores tied and the visitors seven wickets down, Adrian McCrone was given the unenviable task of bowling his first over of the day.
An unlikely comeback seemed possible as he bowled Skoulding for 24 with his first delivery.
The more likely ending of a victory for Long Sutton was ensured however as his third delivery was a wide.
There were times when Park threatened to take this contest right down to the wire, but in truth their score was probably 30 runs shy of a winning total.
Laxton’s place in Division 4 has been cemented, and there will be no more trips to Long Sutton as they depart to Division 3.