Match report: Grimsby Town secure away win at Bracebridge Heath
Grimsby Town Cricket Club beat Bracebridge Heath by two wickets at Cross O’Cliff Court after a match-winning, ninth-wicket partnership between Rory Ronaldson and Liam Redmond.
The pair put on 87 runs in 12 overs and, in the process, set a new league record, breaking the existing one that had stood since 2003.
Grimsby won the toss and invited Bracebridge to bat first on a warm and humid day. Town started poorly as the home side raced to 63 without loss in the 11th over.
Left-handed opening batsman Max Moor made 56 from 87 balls, but Grimsby dropped him twice. Opening bowler Dan Cliffe was disappointed to see him dropped in the slips after Hayden Tice had seen him put down off his bowling at mid-on.
Ronaldson had better fortune when the other opener Alex Moor (21) pulled a short ball from him to mid-wicket and Toby Blake took a well-judged, low catch. Medium pacer Ronaldson brought some control to the run rate, as he bowled six overs, taking one for 16.
Captain Steve Crossley introduced his spinners and Redmond had Max Moor bowled as he attempted a slog sweep. This left the home side 124 for two in the 28th over.
Off-spinner Andrew White was Grimsby’s most successful bowler, claiming three for 35 from his 10 overs. White had Bracebridge’s overseas player Dan Stanley caught behind by Crossley for 14, as the wicket keeper took a good catch. He then took the important wicket of Alex Willerton, who was beginning to look dangerous as he made 54 from 62 balls.
Willerton, the home team’s captain, made his highest league score of the season, hitting seven fours, but when he drove the ball powerfully back towards White, the bowler took a very sharp catch.
Willerton was frustrated as he knew his side was short of batting strength. The home side, who were 156 for three in the 35th over, managed to bat their 50 overs though, as they totalled 215 for eight.
Grimsby’s fielding improved as the innings progressed, with Rob Brice executing a direct hit to run out Alex Clegg and taking a well-judged catch at mid-off to dismiss Will Davies off the bowling of Kasun Ekanayake. Ekanayake bowled well in tandem with White, with the Sri Lankan taking two for 22 from his seven overs.
Town’s reply began badly as their top-order batsmen struggled against the experienced, former first-class cricketer, Andy Carter. Carter bowled seven overs, taking three for eight, with only one scoring shot coming from the bat.
Crossley and Dave Unsworth (16) put on 47 runs for the fourth wicket in nine overs as Grimsby fought back. Unsworth was caught behind by Sam Greenwood off-spinner Alex Moor, but Crossley was looking in good form as he attacked the change bowlers.
Crossley scored freely as he made 42 from only 44 balls, including three sixes over the leg side when the bowlers dropped short. It was a surprise when he got out, meeting a ball from left-arm spinner Joe Mansford on the full but smashing it straight to Alfie Bray, who took a sharp catch at mid-wicket.
Crossley’s dismissal left Grimsby 97 for five at the half way stage and 12 overs later they were 132 for eight and looked in trouble.
Redmond came out to bat at 10, rather than in the middle order, as he had a calf strain. Unable to run between the wickets, Rob Brice acted as his “runner”.
Redmond and Ronaldson played in a disciplined fashion, as they compiled their chanceless stand. Ronaldson hit 42 from 55 balls and Redmond, who was named “Man of the Match”, finished on 52 not out from 53 balls. Redmond struck seven fours, pulling the ball well and driving when the opportunity arose.
Bracebridge brought back Carter for his last three overs, but he was unable to break the partnership and lacked support at the other end, with the hosts’ bowlers a little wayward.
Ronaldson stroked Carter through the covers for four, as Grimsby eased to victory with seven balls to spare and claimed their first away win of the season.
Report by David Evans