Match report: Grimsby Town claim one-wicket victory over Woodhall Spa
Spectators at Augusta Street saw a very exciting finish as Grimsby Town Cricket Club defeated Woodhall Spa by one wicket with only four balls remaining.
Dennis Buirman and Andrew White scored half-centuries for Grimsby and opening bowler Hayden Tice took four wickets, with Town’s lower order seeing their side home in a tense finale.
The hosts won the toss and invited Woodhall to bat first on a good pitch. Town conceded too many extras at the start of the innings but when they bowled straight, they had the visitors’ top order in trouble. Tice trapped the first three batsmen LBW by pitching the ball up, as Woodhall’s players looked to work the ball off their stumps.
Former Sri Lankan Test player Prasanna Jayawardene was amongst Tice’s early victims. He followed this up by clean bowling Tom Caswell, knocking his off stump out to leave the away side 63 for four in the 16th over.
Youngster Isaac Towndrow came on and dismissed Gareth Grant LBW for 17, claiming one for 19 from his six overs of medium pace.
Captain Steve Crossley then introduced his spinners, with Liam Redmond taking a wicket in his second over, bowling Kieran Richardson for 23.
Grimsby kept taking wickets at regular intervals, while Woodhall were struggling to make much impact with the bat. When their seventh wicket fell in the 34th over, with the score at 131, Matt Carter came in. Carter was two hours late arriving at the game as he’d been training with Nottinghamshire CCC, who he plays for in the T20 Vitality Blast.
Carter played himself in, collecting a number of singles, while batting in partnership with Matty Knights. Knights made a useful 38 from 63 balls before being caught at mid-off by Rob Brice off Ekanayake.
With 11 overs left, 15-year-old Oliver Carr joined Carter and offered him some valuable support. Carr resisted Town’s bowlers for 35 balls, making an undefeated four.
Carter decided to cut loose in the 49th over, as he smashed 32 runs off the unfortunate Ekanayake, who had the batsman dropped in the deep at “cow corner” by Tice. Carter targeted the shorter straight boundary, hitting four huge sixes and two fours.
Carter was eventually stumped in the final over by Steve Crossley off Redmond, who claimed two for 31 from his nine overs of off-spin. Carter made 71 from only 41 balls, hitting six sixes and four fours in total. He added 64 runs for the ninth wicket with Carr.
Woodhall closed on 219 for nine from their 50 overs.
Grimsby’s opening batsmen Neal Snell and Toby Blake were dismissed by Dewi Bourke, leaving the score 26 for two after six overs.
Left-handers Buirman and Ekanayake came together and batted very positively, playing some entertaining shots and adding 75 runs for the third wicket in only 11 overs.
Buirman looked to attack all the bowling and he hit four fours in Alex King’s third over. When King bowled at his legs, Buirman flicked the ball over square leg for two boundaries. He drove another through the covers and pulled a short ball through the leg side.
Buirman then took 14 runs off Bourke in the 10th over. He hit a big six over the leg side and followed this up with two boundaries, including a well-timed cover drive.
Ekanayake, Town’s Sri Lankan overseas player, was also scoring quickly, as he made a run-a-ball 33. He got off the mark with a perfectly struck straight drive for four.
Ekanayake and Buirman were taking the game away from Woodhall, but with the score at 101 for two in the 17th over, both batsmen were dismissed in quick succession. Buirman was bowled by left-arm spinner Carr, as he attempted a slog sweep. Buirman had made 57 from 50 balls, including one six and nine fours. Ekanayake was unfortunate, as he hit a full toss from Carr to short mid-wicket, where Carter took a stunning reaction catch after anticipating the shot.
Andrew White played a crucial innings, making his maiden half-century for Grimsby, scoring 52 from 101 balls. After being dropped on nine and seeing Crossley caught down the leg side off Bourke, White settled in to play a long knock.
It was a surprise when White was bowled by King, who returned to take three wickets after his costly opening spell. White tried to engineer a scoring shot by moving outside his off stump but missed the ball and was bowled.
This left Town 199 for eight in the 46th over and with some work still to be done. Rob Brice showed a calm head as he made 16 not out from 28 balls. Eight runs came off the 47th over bowled by Carter, with a square drive from Danny Foxcroft having just enough pace to beat the despairing dive of Grant in front of the clubhouse.
When Foxcroft was caught, last man Towndrow came in and ran rapidly between the wickets with Brice before hitting the winning run in the final over of the match.
Report by David Evans