Bedfordshire blown away to finish on rock bottom

A DISAPPOINTING season for Bedfordshire ended on a humiliating note when they were beaten in two days by Lincolnshire on Tuesday.

Thursday, 25th August 2011, 10:25 am

The 223-run defeat at Wardown Park, Luton, left them firmly anchored at the bottom of the Minor Counties Championship table.

With a whole squad of players unavailable, Beds fielded one of the youngest sides in the county’s history – and one with the longest tail.

In two innings, numbers seven to 11 contributed just 17 runs between them, blown away both times by the speed and accuracy of paceman Adam Shepherd, a Beds player last season.

Shepherd, comfortably the leading wicket-taker in the competition, finished with match figures of 12-86.

Without Martin Weightman, who was playing for Nottinghamshire second XI – the home attack was pop-gun in comparison.

Nevertheless, Beds did well to pick up four bowling points by dismissing Lincolnshire for 271 in their first innings, Colin Griggs taking 4-62 and George Thurstance 3-45.

Beds lost James Kettleborough for a duck when they replied but, with Steve Stubbings, Oliver Swann and Oliver Clayson all getting starts, they passed the hundred mark for the loss of four wickets. Then Shepherd struck.

Bowling fast yorkers apparently to order, he took four wickets in four balls in one sensational over.

Beds somehow struggled past the follow-on but were then on the receiving end of David Birch who struck 128 from 92 balls as Lincolnshire scored 282-4 to set an unlikely target of 427.

Beds woes continued as Stubbings was stranded out of his ground when a fierce drive by Kettleborough was deflected on to the stumps by the bowler, but things improved for a time after this.

Former Bedford School captain Kettleborough, looking every inch a first-class cricketer, and Swann batted superbly and at 167-2 Beds were very much in the game.

But Kettleborough went for 95, Swann for 40 and the rest capitulated as eight wickets went down for just 27 runs.

Scores: Lincolnshire 271 and 282-4 dec. Bedfordshire 127 and 193.