Mixed Bag for the Trees

Posted by Tony Edwards on 28 May 2019

Last weekend’s cricket saw Sparsholt experience contrasting emotions within the space of 24 hours as they racked up their highest ever total in their Southern Premier League history, whilst on Sunday they crashed out of the NVKO to 2018 beaten finalists Liphook and Ripsley. Indeed, Sparsholt will need to come to terms with surfaces not quite of the quality of the Norman Edwards Ground if they are to continue their progress in Premier 1 this season.

The Locks Lane ground is looking a picture and continues to draw high praise from umpires and captains alike. That quality was evident as Sparsholt, batting first, compiled a 7 an over 350 from their 50 overs. OT’s and Romsey playing four spinners found nothing to assist them other than some fine fielding by a young and developing team. After a solid start the fireworks began as Ollie Perrin (47) and Archie Norris (59) began dismantling the Romsey attack through a combination of fine stroke play and placement, with some brute force for good measure. Having removed Perrin and Norris Romsey only succeeded in running in to another run hungry pair in the form of Tim Vokes (52) and David Banks (72) who proceeded to add 126 in almost no time.

Sparsholt continued their charge from the 30th over scoring at 10 runs an over and when Banks and Vokes fell, Stuart Taylor and Sam O’Brien added 34 runs in just 14 balls bringing up the Sparsholt 350.

Romsey faced a task steeper than the hills out of the small market town and never really got underway as Perrin and Haworth gave very little away with the new ball. Perrin snaring the early wickets as part of a fine 4 for 51. Romsey found a potential saviour in Harry Tulk who struck a superb 132 and would ordinarily have expected to end up on the winning side. He found little support through the Romsey innings as the run rate climbed at a hellish pace with wickets falling steadily. Romsey’s innings ended on 233 with the new ball pair of Perrin and Haworth sharing out 7 wickets between them.

That victory saw Sparsholt collect 22 points for second time this season and retain third place in Division 1.

Sparsholt 2nds travelled to Liss on Saturday and were asked to bat. Both openers struggled on a variable wicket before Skeoch (13) wafted across the line and was bowled. Steggall fell next for 9 and Williams for 11 left Sparsholt at 44 for 3. Harrington 46 and Mitchell 12 set about grinding a score out as the score reached 117 for 7. Will and Ian Berrill got the score to 127 with the last few balls to ensure an extra batting point.

Chasing 128 to win Liss lost their first wicket in the second over to Williams caught at slip by Skeoch. The pace of Cook cleaned up the other opener. Cook and Harrington claimed another wicket each as Liss crept to 60 for 5. Moore batted patiently for Liss and left any ball not on the wickets to take Liss close to the target. A couple of dropped chances, missed run outs and a catch of a no ball cost Sparsholt dear as Liss skipper Alcock 19 took his side home with Moore finishing on 30 not out and 33 extras being a complete concern for the Sparsholt bowling.

Sparsholt 3’s hosted Basingstoke & North Hants 5’s at North Walls, with traffic in the city centre causing delays, the game pushed on as planned. Sparsholt skipper Adam Trivett losing the toss and being put in to bat was an early surprise considering that Basingstoke at that point only had 7 players.

Pryce and Maxwell took the middle and unfortunately Maxwell was dismissed off of the 5th ball of the innings. Cray Sams met with Pryce and looked to steady the ship early on and build an innings with Pryce, Sams hitting a quickfire 29 before being bowled. Adam Trivett then came in and hit a solid 20 before being clean bowled for 20 with the score at 72. At this point Pryce took his batting up a gear, but the wickets kept falling. Eric Ahl, Connor Luke and the returning Andy Trivett spelt disaster for Sparsholt as they fell in successive balls from the bowling of Keiran Purnell (4-28). With the score at 97-6, Will Matthews joined Pryce at the crease. With extras helping the score the wicket of Pryce fell with the score at 118 when their keeper almost picked the ball off the bat of Pryce to secure the wicket.

With 13 overs remaining in the first innings, Jason Dodd joined Matthews in the middle and with a 96-run partnership took the Sparsholt 3’s to 214-7 in their forty overs. Dodd finishing on a magnificent 65*, clearing the boundary ropes on numerous occasions with aplomb, while Matthews maintained order at the other end finishing on 21*.

In reply, Basingstoke had several chances to get the game under their control, especially when Sams had to leave the field after 15 overs due to injury leaving Sparsholt with only 10 bodies on the field. Will Matthews was the first bowler to secure a wicket with the dismissal of Mickey Nurse LBW with the score at 28-1. Kottapalli and Taylor steadied the ship for Basingstoke and saw off the first spells of Will Matthews (1-36) and Emily Dodd (0-22), and the spell of Maxwell too (0-25). It was the introduction of Pryce to the bowling attack that got wickets falling. Taylor fell for 33 off Pryce’s first ball and Kottapalli (32) falling the next over.

Derek Dicker and Andy Purnell managed to put 40 runs on the board before Purnell was run out off of a great throw by youngster Matthews taking the Basingstoke score to 134-4 after 26 overs. Jason Dodd then joined the bowling attack and between him and Pryce they seemed to stem the flow of runs being scored, with Pryce taking the successive wickets of Dicker clean bowled and Paul Downham being caught at square leg by Will Matthews, who was having one of the best games of his young career. Adam Trivett took a couple of wickets also and by the end of the 30th over the score was at 157-8. Sparsholt’s confidence was flowing; but it wasn’t plain sailing as Pavittardeep Singh and Kieran Purnell began to get the run rate increasing again, with some fine stroke play before hitting one to the boundary in the air only to be caught by Pryce of the bowling of Jason Dodd. Watts and Purnell were the last men in with two overs left of the innings and less than 20 runs required to win.

Captain Trivett bowled his final over and took the wicket of Purnell LBW on the fourth ball to secure a third successive win, moving them to 2nd in Regional Div 2.

Sunday’s game will hopefully fade quickly from the memory as Sparsholt failed to chase down 176 at Liphook in the NVKO. On a wicket that deteriorated throughout the game Sparsholt found themselves fielding first and despite some excellent bowling and fielding on the whole they couldn’t quite grab the half chances that would have swung the game well into their favour.

Chasing a total, they would have fancied themselves to get they lost wickets at regular intervals after a promising partnership with Norris and Haworth for the second wicket. Despite some late fireworks from David Banks, Sparsholt failed to challenge the Liphook total eventually being all out for a disappointing 99.

Next Saturday Sparsholt travel to first placed Hook and Newnham Basics whilst they entertain local rivals Tichborne Park in the T20 Cup at the Norman Edwards Ground starting at 3pm, The seconds host Hartley Wintney 2nds at Locks Lane looking to get back to winning ways, while the 3s take a brief trip up to 3rd placed Littleton & Westhill 2, looking to maintain their excellent run of form.

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