James KeastCounty U14 star James Keast put in a sterling display with both bat and ball to lead Market Rasen Town cricket Club 2nds to a convincing 82 run win over Caistor Town 3rds at Brigg Road on Bank Holiday Monday.
On a blustery and overcast day, Ernie Allison won the toss for Caistor and lost little time in asking Rasen to have a bat on a green, drying track that promised plenty of assistance to the bowlers.
Andy Richley and Ivan Nash opened for Rasen and put on 20 in four overs whilst never looking completely at ease – with Richley looking particularly flighty.
Henry Gillot ended Richley’s awkward effort, having him caught behind and the tone was set for a batting performance from the visitors that was well short of the standards they have set for themselves so far this season.
Nash managed to top edge a full toss from Terry McKitton down fine leg’s throat, Higgins was then completely bamboozled by Ollie Barrick’s first ball and found himself bowled and Rob Chamberlin ended his brief stay by hitting McKitton straight to the safe hands of Matt Travis at point.
Throughout this flurry of wickets, Will Bradford surveyed the carnage from the non-striker’s end and managed to play his own game when he was on strike. Bradford set his stall out early on with a lovely straight four off Gillot and didn’t look back until he was well past his first 50 of the season.
Mark Robinson, 20, helped Bradford rebuild the innings as the skipper again showed that he’s lost none of his ability to bludgeon the life out of a cricket ball.
With the pair bringing Rasen back into the game, Allison turned to the part-time leg-spin of Matt Travis and the youngster reaped his reward, after a shaky start, inducing Robinson to hit a full-toss directly to mid-on.
At 78 for 5 Rasen’s hopes of an intimidating total lay on the shoulders of Bradford and the new batsman, James Keast.
The pair did not disappoint, putting on an untroubled 50 partnership for the 6th wicket in good time. Both batsmen ran well between the wickets and played the ball on its merits, taking their toll of Caistor’s change bowling.
With Rasen ticking along at more the four an over and Bradford looking set for plenty more runs, Ollie Barrick was re-introduced and changed the course of the innings once more, snaring the vital wicket of Bradford, thanks to the second of three catches from Travis, for an excellent 61.
Tom Keast joined forces with his twin-brother James and the pair of 13-year-olds put on 30 for the seventh wicket, again in decent time.
With Tom particularly keen between the wickets the pair looked set to take Rasen to an excellent score. Unfortunately their partnership was torn asunder by the returning Gillot, who got Tom caught down the leg-side from a ball which the batsman was obviously convinced he hadn’t touched.
Keast’s reluctant departure from the wicket saw a flagging Caistor side revived, with Gillot reaping the rewards of a good line and length to remove James Keast for an excellent 32.
Barrick continued to twirl away from the other end and wrapped up Rasen’s innings with Tom Hill edging behind and Nick Hawke managing to pick out Travis.
Barrick and Gillot led the way for the home side, with 4 and 3 wickets respectively and by bowling the visitors out within 40 overs Caistor gave themselves 50 overs to chase down Rasen’s 164 all out.
Dave Gowshall and Travis opened for Caistor and the pair gave their side a solid platform, putting on 30 in the first ten overs.
Travis found himself becalmed during his innings, but the youngster gritted it out and kept the belligerent Gowshall company.
The veteran opener was more than happy to feast on an indifferent opening spell from Dan Norburn, who mixed some excellent deliveries with too many four-balls. Keast, meanwhile, was maintaining a tight line at the other end and giving nothing away, although he got no reward for his efforts, perhaps due to not bowling full enough in his first spell.
With Gowshall and Travis seeing off Keast, Rasen turned to the darts of Andy Richley, whose first ball picked up the wicket of Travis.
Having ground his way to 3 in 13 overs, the youngster’s eyes lit up at a seemingly innocuous short ball that, unfortunately for the batsman, popped and led to him top-edging an attempted pull into the grateful hands of Robinson at gully.
Ivan Nash was introduced at the other end and also made an immediate impact, as Gowshall hammered a short ball behind square, only to see Chris Higgins pull off a smart diving catch at square leg.
Gowshall’s 37 was to prove the high-water mark for Caistor’s innings.
The Brigg Road youngsters dug in resolutely and did their best to hang on against the stifling accuracy of Nash and Richley. The spin twins shared three wickets apiece to dismantle the home side’s top order and combined for the figures of 6 for 22 from 20 overs.
The return of James Keast wrapped up Caistor’s defiant innings, with the youngster cleaning up the tail to finish with the fine figures of 3 for 18 from 11.4 overs and hand Rasen an 82 run victory and the 20 points they needed to return to the top of Division Four.