THE last rites of the 2012 cricket season were played out in brilliant sunshine, in stark contrast to what happened in the first three months of the wettest season on record, when rain washed out so many fixtures that some of our local clubs had completed only three games by the final week in July.
In the Lincolnshire Premier League Caistor had already finished their fixtures and knew they were not going to be champions. That honour goes to Scunthorpe Town who pipped nearest challengers Alford, leaders for much of the season, and Barton Town. Caistor finished a creditable fifth with Nettleham just above them.
At the other end of the table South Kelsey were already facing relegation. They played their last match in the Premier Division before returning to Division 1 for 2013.
South Kelsey lost by three wickets at Alkborough. Batting first South Kelsey made 189, one of their best totals of the season. Atiq Ullah made a half-century for South Kelsey before Alkborough replied with 190 for seven.
Moving to Division 2, Keelby, who led for much of the so called summer, faded badly in August and September but still entered their final match at home to Messingham 2nds with a chance of promotion as runners-up. A home defeat however allowed Messingham to go up instead.
The margin was a mere 20 runs. The highlight for Keelby was the performance of experienced all-rounder Gary Spencer who took 3-52 and scored 48. Messingham 2nds batted first and their score of 160 for seven looked reasonable, but not unbeatable on a dry outfield. Keelby got to 140 before being all out, to feel that a season which promised so much had ended in disappointment.
Owmby also had hopes of sneaking up in that same second Division 2 spot at the start of the day, but their aspirations for Division 1 cricket also disappeared when they lost by a nail biting one run away to champions Scunthorpe Town 2nds.
Scunthorpe Town 2nds hit 167, Owmby replying with 166 for nine. Caistor 2nds, who had already finished their programme, had their relegation confirmed after Grimsby Town 2nds gained a handful of bonus points from their final match on Saturday to inch above the Brigg Road men.
In Division 3 the local area does claim a promotion berth, in that despite losing, Hibaldstow hung on to second spot in the table by virtue of rivals Cherry Willingham also going down. Hibaldstow were all out for 65 against Cleethorpes 4ths who hit 66 for five in reply.
In the same league South Kelsey 2nds lost by 100 runs at Alford 2nds and are relegated. Alford 2nds hit 208 for six, South Kelsey 2nds only managing a modest 108 in reply.
In Division 4 Caistor 3rds ended what has been a good season for them on a high with victory by one run at Scothern 2nds.
Caistor 3rds hit 158 for eight, Scothern 2nds replying with 157. There was a very heavy defeat for Keelby 2nds away to Hykeham. Hykeham hit 314 for six, Keelby 2nds only able to reply with 88, which all meant the margin was a massive 314 runs.
Top of the honours board locally are Market Rasen, who took titles with the first team in Division 1 and the second team in Division 4.
Elsewhere there was success and disappointment for our local clubs, the latter emotion strongest at South Kelsey who saw both their teams sign off for 2012 with relegation.
Hopefully though, above all other issues, our local players have enjoyed their 2012 cricket as and when the downpours allowed.