Willerton takes four wickets in successive balls for Lincolnshire
A remarkable spell of bowling from Lincolnshire's Alex Willerton was the highlight of county cricket returning to the Abbey Lawn in Bourne on Sunday.
Willerton dismissed four batsmen in successive balls as Lincolnshire had mixed fortunes against their Cheshire counterparts in the final two matches in the Unicorns T20 competition.
They lost the opening T20 tussle by eight runs before Willerton's inspired display saw them bounce back with an eight-wicket win in the second match.
The county side were skippered by Bourne wicket-keeper Carl Wilson while in-form Abbey Lawn batsman Sam Evison featured in the second of the two games.
Former Bourne batsman Conrad Louth was also part of the Lincolnshire side which went into the two T20 tussles not being able to top their group but aiming to thwart Cheshire’s ambition to qualify for finals day.
In the first match Cheshire won the toss and elected to bat and, despite the loss of a wicket in the first over, opener Wayne White stood firm and held their innings together.
With Cheshire on 77-4 in the 10th over Nick Anderson joined White and together they added 71 for the fifth wicket and took the visitors to a respectable total of 148-6 off their 20 overs, White top scoring with 61 with Anderson on 44 giving solid support.
Lincolnshire started in positive fashion and at 90-2 in the 11th over were well on target to win.
At this point Louth was dismissed for 32 and was immediately followed by Louis Kimber who made 54 off 36 balls.
This was the start of a disastrous spell when Lincolnshire lost five wickets for 13 runs and only an unbroken seventh wicket stand between Wilson (21no) and Nick Keast (15no) took them within sight of Cheshire's total, finishing on 140-6 as the visitors won by eight runs.
The second match saw Cheshire again win the toss and elect to bat.
Again opener White held their innings together with 52 off 42 balls, being the third player dismissed with the total on 104.
Middle order batsman Jamie Crawley continued to score freely and was on 64 not out going into the final over with Cheshire on 165-3.
There then followed a remarkable period of play as Willerton dismissed four batsmen in successive balls to leave the visitors on 165-7 after 20 overs, the Bracebridge bowler finishing with 5-28 off his four overs.
Lincolnshire set about their task from the first ball as Louth and Kimber despatched the Cheshire bowling to all parts of the ground.
With the total on 73, Louth was dismissed for 34 off 15 balls and Kimber was then joined by Bilal Shafayat.
Lincolnshire were not going to make the mistake they made in the earlier match and these two saw off the Cheshire bowling with ones and twos and the occasional boundary.
With the scores level, Shafayat was out for 50 off 36 balls, bringing Evison to the crease to see Lincolnshire to an eight-wicket win in the 16th over with Kimber again showing his class with a fine 73 not out from 42 balls (six fours and four sixes).
Lincolnshire begin their Eastern Division Championship matches when they host Norfolk at Sleaford CC in a three-day fixture, commencing on Sunday at 11am.