Firsts and Seconds lose Thirds Promoted

Posted by Andy Worth on 9 September 2014

A  week which started so promisingly for Sparsholt Cricket Club ended a little disappointingly as both the first and second teams were unable to gain the wins they needed to gain promotion.

The week started with the customary bank holiday weekend visit from touring side Greenwich Zebras, which saw both sides turn out in their dazzling club blazers before an entertaining afternoon’s cricket and ‘apres cricket’ was enjoyed by all. As well as the Londoners, Sparsholt old boys Ed Ellis (now playing for Premier division Lymington) and  Australian Matt Peterson from Newcastle, New South Wales were welcomed, and the usual good spirited game was punctuated by many (beer) drinks breaks. Both sides claimed victory, but the simple fact was that by the end of the evening, no one could actually remember who had won, merely that bar takings were excellent and it was sore heads for all on Monday morning.

Picture 1 Sparsholt (maroon and yellow) and Zebras (blue and cream) photocall before the game.

Sadly the planned Bank Holiday Monday Chairman’s Sevens tournament (another popular event which brings good revenue for the club) was washed out, meaning that all opening bowler Jon Vokes’ organising efforts were in vain, although an attempt is being made to reschedule the event in September.

And so to the last fixtures of the league season. As Chairman Martin Harlow said, whatever happened on the field, all three teams could be proud of their efforts in the summer. The first team, after successive defeats by Paultons and league champions Rowledge entertained Langley Manor, knowing that a win would guarantee promotion, but it was not to be as the visitors won the toss and batted first. Alex Dilley and Jon Vokes opened the bowling, but runs came quickly as Jack Budd (30) and Connor Browne (65) added 60 for the first wicket. Steve Harris added a quickfire 50 as Langley Manner reached 157 for 2 before Sparsholt’s bowlers, led by Dave Gough (4 for 38) and Jon Vokes (2 for 46) slowed progress, and the ‘manor’ ended on 215 for 9. In reply Jayden Derosa (in his last game for the club before travelling throughout Europe) and Ed Jenner added 18 before both were dismissed in quick succession. After Tim Vokes went cheaply, Lewis Dunford (21) and Dave Gough led a mini recovery before three quick wickets left the trees in deep trouble at 67 for 6, and although skipper Andy Worth reached double figures, no one could stay with him as Hamish Bloomfield (4 for 37) wrapped things up for the visitors as Sparsholt stutter to a dismal 101 all out, their second lowest total of the season. With the clubs around them all winning Sparsholt therefore ended the season in a very comfortable fifth position. Cricket co-ordinator Norman Gough said ‘despite losing the last three games, this is by far the best season for at several years – although it is disappointing not to gain promotion, I think that the two games against champions Rowledge showed where our game needs to be to survive in the next tier. They were a good bit better in all three departments of the game, their bowling was tight, their batsmen quick to punish any loose bowling, and they were a slick outfit in the field. We are improving every year, but are not quite at that level yet’.

Sparsholt second team also missed out on promotion as they went down at Wherwell, also slipping to fifth place in the final table. Despite not playing, the news was better for Alex Whiting’s third team  - they remained in third place in the final table, and will be promoted.

Players from all teams met at the clubhouse on Saturday evening to celebrate the end of the season and the earlier downturns were soon forgotten. Sixteen year old Mike Haworth was voted the player’s player for the first team, Haida Ali for the seconds, and James Dorward received the award for the thirds

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