More wins in the bank

Posted by Tony Edwards on 28 May 2018

This May bank holiday weekend saw Sparsholt’s first XI travel for the first time this season to Langley Manor as captain Frith elected to Bat in the muggy conditions. Again, Sparsholt got off to a good start with a flurry of boundaries from opener Haworth before he fell for 21 with the score on 28. The visitors lost their next two wickets in regular intervals before the partnership of Mitchard and Banks set a fantastic platform for a well above par total. However, Graham Noble soon put the breaks to the Sparsholt innings attacking the stumps and being rewarded with figures of 9 overs 5-29. Sparsholt set a target of 187.

The home side also got off to a good start, but Frith made the breakthrough with the score on 42, which triggered a collapse at the hands of Doran, Frith and Doubell taking the score to 48-4 in only a few overs. Like in the first innings a stable partnership in the middle order kept Langley Manor in the game putting on 59 runs before losing their next wicket. With the game in the balance and run rate increasing it was anyone’s game. However, the remaining wickets fell at regular intervals before the visitors dismissed the home side for 153. The spinners had the main share of the wickets with Frith and Doran getting 3 each and Doubell with 2. 

The seconds finally got to play at Locks Lane on Saturday where they entertained Pylewell Park. Skipper Skeoch won the toss and opted to bat on a very good wicket. Stand in opener Pryce opened with Skeoch as Steggall recovered from injury. They made steady progress taking the score to 39 before Pryce fell for 8 quickly followed by Skeoch for 24 both bowled by D Russell. Worth Joined Mitchell to set about repairing the damage with some boundaries from Mitchell before he too was bowled by Russell for 21 with the score on 70. A big partnership was required as the game was in the balance as 14-year-old Joshua Williams made his way to the middle. Williams batted with a maturity beyond his years alongside Worth batting with a maturity slightly within his years as the pair took singles and punished the bad ball with boundaries. Williams played the shot of the day when Pylewell’s opening quick bowler banged one in short only for Williams to glance the ball over the head of the keeper for a boundary. The pair put on 110 before Worth was bowled for a 'Gritty' 64 including 11 boundaries. Sankey fell for 8, Doubell for 1 and Adam Gough for 0 as the innings went from 181 for 3 to 195 for 7. Debutant Thomas Ley joined his u15 teammate Williams and made a good 8 before Williams was run out of the last ball of the innings for a fine 44 with Sparsholt amassing 203. 

Tim Ndowora (4 for 17) opened the bowling for Sparsholt and using all of his 6 ft 8inches bowled with pace to bowl 3 Pylewell batsmen in his first over. As Pylewell tried to regroup Doubell (3 for 27) got in on the act taking a wicket maiden in his second over. With the opposition at 14 for 4 Sparsholt were hoping for a quick finish but some rearguard action by the lower order tried to bring back some respectability, bowling changes brought Sankey to the fore who returned figures of 2 for 45 off five overs, Thomas Ley 0 for 5 off two overs on debut and Lockyer 0 for 23 off his two overs. With the score creeping up at 149 for 8 captain Skeoch turned to his opening bowler Ndowora. Kennedy played well to keep the number 8 batsman Truell off strike but after 14 balls Ndowora had his 4 the wicket well caught at gully by Mitchell. With one wicket required for victory Joshua Williams finished off his man of the match Performance bowling the Pylewell captain. Sparsholt winning by 53 runs. 

Sparsholt’s third team made the quick trip along the A31 to Bentworth where they faced a side whom were relegated from the first regional division last year. Losing the toss and put in to bat, John Ryan and Adam Trivett made their way to the middle. Trivett hitting the first boundary of the game in the second over and then promptly being caught by playing the same shot the very next ball. Youngster Jack Tucker came in at three and the start of a solid partnership began to form before the slightest clip of leg stump saw Tucker walking back to the pavilion scoring 15. Stewart Henderson who joined the club this year was in number 14 and attempted to steer the club back on course, but with the quick losses of Ryan (16), Danny Maddaford (1) and James Dorward with a quick fire 11. Sparsholt were 69-5 and only just over halfway through their 40 overs. Young wicket keeper Will Berrill joined Henderson in the middle and put on 10 before Henderson (25) was bowled by B Mackroll (3-26). Ian Maddaford scored a quick 8 before clipping one into the air. Tony Edwards joined Berrill at the crease and scored 2 before Berrill was caught. Emily Dodd smashed a quick 4 to end the over before Edwards was bowled at the other end after taking a ball to the leg and to the ribs. Latecomer to proceedings Dale Lodge came in at number 11 and gallantly smashed one to mid-on before being clean bowled by N Gay (3-9). Sparsholt ended their innings all out for 94.

In reply, Bentworth were on the back foot early on when Emily Dodd took out the middle stump of J Hartley in the first over. Dodd then took the wicket of R Hill a couple of overs later when Dale Lodge took a great catch at point. At first change Jack Tucker bowled some great line and length and clean bowled B Smith with a ball that came in quick but didn’t get much air. 

This left the ever-present opener of Trevor Edwards (36 no) and Steve Blake (36 no) to lead Bentworth to victory in the 22nd over with some beautiful shots and some missed opportunities on Sparsholt’s side. 

Next week Sparsholt’s first team welcome local rivals St Cross Symondians II to the Norman Edwards ground whilst the second team travel down to IBM Hursley II and the third team welcome Basingstoke & North Hants V to North Walls.

On Sunday, and despite overnight thunderstorms and some early morning rain it was still a warm, humid afternoon as Sparsholt took to the field in a 'declaration' game at Locks Lane against Wherwell. Quite how the 'off field' skip Martin Patterson lured Wherwell into this more traditional format of the game remains a mystery - at Longparish the previous week, the three Wherwell guests appearing for Sparsholt had warned they were 'going straight back home' unless playing a format of cricket they understood.

Stuey 'WG' Taylor opened the bowling for Sparsholt subjecting keeper Patterson's hands to an early bruising (when, that is, he actually got his gloves to it) whilst Dom Fernando kept it tight at the other end to be rewarded with a wicket near the end of his first spell. Saturday first teamers Whiting, Haworth and Taylor all chipped in with a wicket apiece, but it was young Will 'Shoaib' Matthews who stole the show with his 4/40 from 8 overs as Cutts bludgeoned his way to a century at the other end. Wherwell finished on 234/8.

Sparsholt were left with 39 overs to get the total and the chase got even tougher as opener Patterson - pre-programmed to see off the opening attack -  blocked out an appetizing spell from a third change bowler cleverly disguised, to Patterson's eyes only, as an opener. Fortunately, 'WG' Taylor came to the rescue with some Caribbean hitting 'on the up' and by the time Patterson had farcically top edged the ball into his own lug hole to be caught at gully, Sparsholt were 'up with the rate' again. Taylor smote his way to a thrilling 74, ably supported by a half century from Seb Fernando who had an impressive grasp of his own strengths as a batsman for one so young: cross batting anything in the right 'slot' to the cover and mid-wicket boundaries.

As the cricketing denouement approached, Sparsholt were well placed but Wherwell's L. Trebert had other ideas narrowly missing a hat trick (denied by an impressive block from debutant McKenna) in a match changing spell of 3 for 12 from five. Sparsholt had simply run of time, finishing 25 runs short with their secret weapon Mikey Haworth left raring to go on 0 not out at the end. 

Sparsholt's striped blazer Man of the Match award went this week to Will Matthews with Stuey Taylor fined heavily for a showy, sprawling stop at deep midwicket with a (now traditional) boundary 'roll-up' still projecting stylishly from the corner of his mouth. Match Drawn; an outcome, in all honesty, Wherwell may still not understand.

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