MIDDLE Rasen made the trip to Branston on the back of a good win last week at home to Old Lincolnians
Middle went into the game without Tom Bradford and Andy Quinlan, missing from last week’s winning side, but did welcome back seamer Daniel Norburn to the side
Last season this fixture produced 700 plus runs in two very close games, so both sides knew this would be another good game - as it proved to be.
Winning the toss again, skipper Richard Boryszczuk put Branston into bat and things started steady for Branston, with Daniel Norburn and last week’s five-wicket man Darren Salmon. But, despite good early bowling, there was no breakthrough.
With the score on 29-0 after ten overs, the skipper changed things, bringing himself and Ivan Nash into the attack and this was rewarded with instant success - second ball into Boryszczuk’s over he delivered a peach of a ball and opener Gillingham was clean bowled.
Fellow opener Davies was starting to look dangerous on 24 before Boryszczuk got another one to turn and again bowled the opener.
Middle went on the attack and Nash removed the dangerous looking Green with Trevor Taylor catching well on the boundary and Nash delivering another beauty to clean up Wines, leaving Branston 74-4.
But still at the crease was the very dangerous Stephenson, who was hoping to add to his 123 and 48 that he scored against Middle last season and after a huge six and two fours he looked like he was going to go on and make another score. But to Middle’s delight, Stephenson smashed a shot which looked on its way to the boundary but was superbly caught by Daniel Quinlan.
At 75-5, Middle looked in the driving seat, with Nash bowling his ten overs 3-35 and Boryszczuk again returning excellent figures of 3-19 off ten overs.
Norburn and Salmon returned to the attack and despite some good bowling from Norburn he was unable to get himself in on the wickets, finishing 0-22. But Salmon added to his wicket tally, picking up three more wickets finishing 3-35 and Branston ending their 40 overs on 117-9.
Nash and Norburn got things under way for Middle, but it was not long before Nash was out lbw to Green for 7 and then the next over saw Norburn depart for 8.
Then double disaster hit, as Green’s next over saw both Darren and Kevin Salmon being bowled for 0 and 1 leaving Middle 24-4.
So the pressure was firmly back on Middle now and things seemed to be going Branston’s way. Boryszczuk and Potter had to dig deep to help Middle get back on course and they certainly did. Boryszczuk quickly got to work with Potter and Middle raced up to 56 before Potter was caught bringing in Dan Quinlan.
With Boryszczuk looking in good nick, the balance seemed to have gone back in Middle’s favour, until Wines bowled the Middle Rasen skipper for 35, with the score on 71-6.
Branston looked to be homing in on victory, but Daniel Quinlan showed his capability and produced a very good batting performance, batting sensibly and picking up runs on the way.
Charman supported briefly with 2 and James Quinlan was bowled second ball bringing in Trev Taylor with Middle at 75-8.
Quinlan opened up and, supported well by Taylor, took the score to 105 before Taylor left Quinlan with Ian Johnson and seven runs needed.
But Johnson was caught first ball, meaning Middle went down by just seven runs and Quinlan finishing on 29 not out.
So once again this fixture produced a cracking game, which unfortunately for Middle went in Branston’s favour.
But the spirit between the sides was how it should be and Middle now look to get back on winning ways next week with a trip to recently relegated North Scarle.