Sparsholt survive Mays Bounty and it’s consecutive 100’s for Skeoch!

Posted by Tony Edwards on 25 June 2018

Sparsholt stretched their unbeaten run to 6 matches to put themselves firmly at the top of the 21Six Southern Premier Cricket League Division 2 with a resilient 53 run victory against Basingstoke at Mays Bounty. 

Having won the toss and elected to bat Sparsholt found themselves 0-3 and then 4-4 as Frith, Haworth, Mitchard and Taylor all went for 0. Banks and Doubell set about repairing the damage however when Banks went caught at extra cover Sparsholt were in severe trouble at 32 for 5. That brought teenage all-round spin Liam Doran and Nick Doubell together who set about repairing the damage with a partnership of 105. 

Both Doubell and Doran played watchfully in getting underway however as the spinners were introduced the pair set about a counter attacking partnership that brought Sparsholt straight back in to the game. Doran and Doubell targeting the long on and straight mid-wicket boundaries regularly and punishing some comparatively friendly bowling from what had gone before. 

Again, a flurry of wickets frustrated Sparsholt as hopes of a score in excess of 200 looked likely as they were pegged back to 139 for 8. Nayan Phagami and Dan Weir stopped the slide with a vital 34 run partnership to get Sparsholt closer to a competitive total until the final two wickets fell with the score on 173. 

The Locks Lane club will have fancied their chances of winning the game as they took the field on a wicket that had offered exaggerated bounce, seam movement and spin. The Basingstoke reply began in a hurry as they raced to 56 for 1 in 11 overs, putting Sparsholt under huge pressure. Mike Haworth was the pick of the seamers who followed up the key wicket of Chris Jolley by Lewis Mitchard in returning 2-23 from his 10 overs. 

In the absence of Sam O’Brien, David Banks was standing up behind the stumps showing some of the glove work that made him one of the county’s best keepers in his younger years, which pinned the Basingstoke batsmen back in their creases. 

At 60 for 3 the game changed quickly with the introduction of Jeremy Frith and Liam Doran. Both were getting significant turn however it was the exaggerated bounce that proved to be their greatest weapon. Frith picked up the key wicket of Dyer as he propped forward to defend only for the ball explode out of the surface taking the top hand glove and flying to Mike Haworth at slip. 3 balls later Keith Harsham was back in the pavilion and when Liam Doran produced another spinning, bouncing snorter to get the top hand glove of Oates; Sparsholt were in control.

With the run rate at only 3 an over there was plenty of time for Basingstoke with Donaldson briefly threatening with a couple of boundaries. However, when Donaldson holed out Dan Weir at long off Doran then picked up his 4th wicket with a skied ball that Nick Doubell held on to at extra cover. 

Sparsholt host Totton and Eling next Saturday at the Norman Edwards Ground as they look to retain the top spot at the midway point in the league season. 

Sparsholt 2nd XI welcomed Amesbury to Locks Lane and upon first inspection of the wicket, it was hard with a little grass on top. Maybe something for the bowlers in it?

After skipper Jamie losing the toss and Sparsholt being put into bat, home knowledge suggested with some sensible batting a score of 250+ was on the cards. Amesbury opened with a medium pacer at the pavilion end and a spinner at the trees end, an increasingly popular choice following the IPL and ODIs.

Jamie Skeoch and Andrew Worth started things going for Sparsholt things looked to get off to a steady start. Worth was caught at mid-on for 5 in the 8th over, playing a loose shot of the opening bowler after a seemingly solid start. To the crease, Chris Mitchell who started well and along with Skeoch proceeded to play their shots bringing the score up to 50, then to 100 with Skeoch passing a consecutive 50 at home. Mitchell was then given LBW on 40 bringing Tim Vokes into the game. Vokes, recently regaining the cricketing bug after a few years away, played a few fantastic shots while giving the bowlers at the pavilion end 3 caught and bowled opportunities, helping the score along to 150 and Skeoch to consecutive 100s at home. Vokes was eventually caught on 49, much to the chairman’s disappointment. Skeoch continued to push the score board along with Joshua Williams, Tom Procter, Jon Druce and Mike Doubell pushing the final total up to 288-6 with Skeoch finishing the innings not out on 146.

Sparsholt took to the field and started as they meant to finish things quickly. Tim Ndowora and Mike Doubell bowling with intention of hitting the stumps. Amesbury came out swinging and were going at 10 runs per over for the first 4 overs, while Mike Doubell bowled ball after ball on the same spot finishing with 8-29 in 9 overs. Tim unfortunately didn’t get the rub of the green, bowled stump to stump ending with 1-32. Chris and Brian White stuck it out at the end to bring Amesbury’s total to 85 with Jon Druce taking a fantastic catch off the bowling of Rae Lockyer to take the wicket of Chris White. 

Sparsholt 2nd XI finished the game with the full complement of 24 points bringing them up to 2nd in the table, and a serious contender for promotion this year.

Sparsholt’s 3rd XI fixture against Easton & Martyr Worthy’s 3rd XI was unfortunately cancelled due to the opposition being unable to raise a side through their own players or that of the recently introduced loan system that the Hampshire League have been trialling in the lower divisions to get the game on.

Our next games bring Totton & Eling to Locks Lane to face Sparsholt’s top of the table 1st XI, the 2nd XI take a trip to the beautiful setting of Mottisfont and the 3rd XI will be welcoming Cove IV to North Walls on what is predicted to be one of the hottest Saturdays of the year. On Sunday, T20 action is back with Sparsholt hosting local rivals Fair Oak in the first round of the 21Six T20 plate, and our social Sunday side are off on their travels to Bedhampton.

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