Lincolnshire’s Beth Smith at Stocksfield CC
Coming off the back of a first match victory, the Imps were hoping for a repeat performance as they travelled to Northumberland on Sunday. With overcast conditions and a green tinge in the pitch, captain for the day Rachael Dyer elected to field first and put the hosts into bat.
Amy Halloran took the new ball utilising her pace and looking to make the most of the conditions. Beth Smith came in from the other end aiming to use her experience to reduce runs and potentially pick up a wicket or two. The pair bowled well, gaining a lot of movement, but unfortunately the opening batting pair of Hawes and Gillott were unyielding.
A change of bowling to try create a breakthrough was put in place but by drinks the hosts were 150-3. Sloppy fielding and loose bowling had let the Imps down; even with some excellent moments in the field (Smith gaining a run-out and Becki Brooker taking a sharp catch), it was not to the necessary county standard required. At drinks, coach Alan Ward gave Lincs the target to not let Northumberland get more than 230 as a total, meaning the Imps had to sharpen up both in the field and with their bowling!
Lincs looked to be a different team in the second 25 overs. Wickets came from Halloran, Dyer and Smith, with further excellent pieces of fielding: another run-out for Smith, and two more sharp catches for Brooker. Halloran came back on to finish her overs from the opposite end, bowling tightly, and ending with figures of 2-32 in her 10 overs. Smith also returned to finish her overs, finally gaining a wicket (caught and bowled) after having some close chances in her first spell. She ended with 1-30.
This improved fielding performance managed to restrict the hosts to 247-7 from their 50 overs. It was a tall order, but with the pitch holding firm and with what looked a long batting line-up, Lincs felt they could chase down the runs.
India Freeman joined Smith to open the batting, with the first aim being to get to 10 overs without losing a wicket. The pair were ticking the board over steadily until Freeman received a quality delivery from Ali which cleaned her up, bringing Brooker to the middle after 4 overs. Brooker got a quick fire 12 before also receiving an unplayable delivery by Ali, and Halloran followed the next ball shuffling across her stumps to be given LBW – the irony being that Ali had to be taken off in her next over for bowling 3 no balls on height! This left Lincs 31-3 off 7.
The instructions for the incoming batsmen were now to survive for a few overs before looking to press for runs. Unfortunately, Smith was gaining new partners at a steady rate. Lucy Rollinson, Dyer and Abbie Johnson all came in then back out without troubling the scorers too much; some well-timed shots sadly went straight to fielders. Samantha White joined Smith at the crease and the two saw the Imps to drinks with the score at 80-6.
With victory now out of reach, the instructions at drinks were to use time in the middle as batting practice, and try to get as many extra batting points as possible. But even with this being said, two overs later Smith attempted to take a non-existent run to Ali and got herself run-out with a score of 34. The remaining batsmen only managed an additional 8 runs before Lincs were all out for 96 in the 34th over.
Ultimately it was a disappointing day for the Imps as a result of 15 very poor overs in the field, resulting in 46 extras (the top scorer of the day). This, coupled with two of the top order receiving top quality deliveries and only two batsmen making double figures, means there is a lot to improve upon before the first round of the T20 competition on the 14th June.
Full Scorecard is available here: http://lincscb.play-cricket.com/website/results/2303647