Two out of three ain’t bad for the Trees!

Posted by Tony Edwards on 14 May 2019

Sparsholt welcomed the travelling Andover for the second instalment of the Division 1 campaign. Unsurprisingly having won the toss, Andover elected to bat on the same pitch which saw more than 600 runs scored the previous Saturday.

The returning Lewis Mitchard combined with Haworth to put together a tidy opening spell picking up the first wicket of the day with the score on just 16. The introduction of Perrin into the attack brought about 2 wickets in relatively quick succession with the score on 55 and 77 respectively. This brought Charlie Ayers to the crease to join Hampshire’s Lewis McManus. Sparsholt managed to keep the Andover pair at bay, keeping the run rate hovering between 3 and 4 runs per over. Liam Doran and Jeremy Frith provided great control, backed up by a strong fielding performance.

This meant that Andover had work to do heading into the end stages of their innings. However, the 83-run partnership was broken by skipper Frith when he dismissed Ayers for 33 and the score 160. He was quickly followed by McManus when Banks found his outside edge to dismiss him for a well-made 71. The Andover tailed struggled to find the boundary in the closing stages of the innings, with regular wickets halting any momentum. Sparsholt secured the final wicket and full bowling points in the final over, limiting the visitors to an under par 210 from their 50 overs. Haworth finished with figures of 10 overs 4-33.

The Sparsholt innings did not get off to a good start with both openers being dismissed before the score reached 25. Tim Vokes and Perrin briefly steadied the ship, before they were both also dismissed in quick succession. With the score at 59-4 the fifth wicket of Taylor also fell, reducing the home side to 73-5. Run rate was not an issue but the wickets column made for some concerning reading and was calling for a partnership which could stem the flow of wickets. Much in the same way as the Andover pair, Banks and O’Brien came to the crease with work to be done and that they did, batting positively the score grew and grew and the countdown begun.

The pair also managed to put on a partnership of 84 before Banks was dismissed for his first 50 of the season. What happened next seemed to spell the end for Sparsholt, losing 4 wickets for just 13 runs and reducing the score to 170-9, however O’Brien remained set on 50*. Enter Sparsholt number 11, Dan Weir. The pair dug deep and slowly accumulated the score, finding the boundary to bring the end within sight. Always being just 1 ball away from losing meant the tension on the boundary was palpable. As the runs required continue to tick down, the light could be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Several wides assisted the hosts into getting past 200, with just single figured required. You would be forgiven for questioning what Weir was doing at 11 when he crashed the ball through extra cover for 4 to bring the scores level. However, with the field in, Sparsholt struggled to get the 1 required to pull off what would be a great escape. Until the 4th ball of the 48th over when the two managed to scamper through to register an unbelievable victory, their first in Division 1. The co-hero of the piece Sam O’Brien finished unbeaten on 63, continuing his rich vein of form in 2019.

Sparsholt Seconds travelled to Liphook for the first game of the 2019 Hampshire Cricket League campaign. Following a short downpour Sparsholt won the toss and elected to bat in a reduced 43 over game. Norris and Skeoch started well against the pace of the Grimes brothers, with the score on 40 Skeoch fell caught behind. Williams joined Norris and added another 18 before Norris was bowled by Elliot.

Williams continued to push the score along as Mitchell (5), Harrington (0), Worth (7), Vaughan (7) and Cook (1) fell to the spin attack of Elliot and Tashkin. With the score on 135 Williams was runout for a fine 43. This left Pryce and Lockyer to bat out the remaining overs with Pryce making 28 and Lockyer a staunch 5 as the innings ended on 156. With a rain interruption mid innings, the target was reduced to 151 from 40 overs.

Sparsholt took the field with pace of New Zealander Sam Cook and swing of Harrington, both were unable to make a breakthrough as the score crept up. Stone was introduced and Vaughan took a fine catch behind to remove Oliver for 33. Rick Williams joined Harvey and took the score toward the target, Pryce and Williams were unable to make breakthroughs and to add to Sparsholt woes the ball crept by the keeper and hit a helmet to add 5 penalty runs. Liphook chased down the total in 26 overs in an opening game to forget for Sparsholt seconds.

Sparsholt 3’s started their season with a trip away to Odiham & Greywell. The day started well with Sparsholt winning the toss and electing to bowl. Will Matthews 0-9 (4) and James Dorward opened the bowing keeping it tight and coming very close to picking up an early wicket.

The first change in bowling was Cray Sams and Emily Dodd. Emily came on and broke the opening partnership which had just gone past 50 in the 14th over. The new batsman that came to the wicket for Odiham was Max Morris who last year scored 100 against Sparsholt in this fixture; Norris was dropped early on as Odiham started to put on some quick runs. In the last over before drinks skipper Adam Trivett came on to bowl getting the wicket of Odiham’s opening batsman for 42 on the 4th ball of the over with Odiham reaching 90-2 at drinks.

At the other end Thomas Ley came on to bowl which proved to be decisive. With pressure building from both ends from tight bowling by Trivett and Ley, Max Morris after just reaching his fifty went for the big shot off of Trivett mistiming the shot and being bowled on leg stump. From this point runs dried up for Odiham with Ley picking up a well-deserved wicket with figures of 1-25 from his 6 over spell.

This allowed Jason Dodd to have 2 quick fire overs going for just 3 and picking up a wicket before the bowlers come on at the death. Trivett finished his spell with figures of 2-27 from his 8 overs. Dorward and Sams came on to bowl their last 3 overs each in the final 6 overs of Odiham’s innings keeping it tight with Dorward picking up a wicket 1-26 (8) and Sams 2 wickets 2-31 (8) with Odiham finishing their innings on 162-8. A brilliant fight back to keep them far from reaching 200 which looked to be achievable at the 20 over mark.

Sparsholt openers Andy Steggall and Will Berrill came out to bat knowing 163 was the target. With some very good early bowling the openers were solid in holding their wicket to see off the openers. Max Morris bowling out his spell 0-10 (8). Will Berrill was out just after seeing off the difficult period for just 6 but his defensive batting was critical to help the fellow batters come in without pressure.

Sams came to wicket with a quick fire 13 and Joel Eastwood was very unlucky to get out first ball leaving Sparsholt 61-3 at the 20 over mark. Thomas Ley joined Steggall at the crease with 102 needed from the last 20 overs with batting still to come. However, these other batsmen weren’t required as Steggall brought up his 50 with a six straight back over the bowler’s head and didn’t looked back. Steggall pushed on to score 91 not out with Thomas Ley finishing on 42 not out the pair brought home a 7 wicket win after displaying a 105-run batting masterclass full of elegant shots.

On Sunday – Sparsholt travelled to Amport for the second round of the National Village Cup. Amport batted first and with some great shots and the occasional bad ball elevated Amport to 64 before the first wicket; a fine catch yards off of the boundary by Stuart Taylor to break up the opening partnership. In the same over a second Amport batsman cut a ball to the short boundary where youngster Joshua Williams took a great catch.

From here wickets fell fairly regularly, meaning that the Amport batsmen were unable to build meaningful partnerships and the Amport innings finished on 141-9.

In reply, openers Archie Norris and Jamie Skeoch got the run rate up and running with speed. The score hit 60 before the wicket of Skeoch fell. Tim Vokes then joined the attack and the pair put on a further 40 runs before Norris (48) was dismissed with the score at 100 off of just 10 overs.

With 42 runs required, Stuart Taylor (33*) joined the attack and alongside Vokes (36*) the batsmen took Sparsholt through to the third round against Liphook in the 14th over.

Next weekend, Sparsholt 1s travel to the New Forest as they take their first trip away from Locks Lane to New Milton where they will look to secure a second victory, hopefully in less dramatic style! Sparsholt 2’s welcome Bishops Waltham 2 to the Norman Edwards Ground looking for their first win of the season; and Holybourne 2 take the trip to North Walls to do battle with the Sparsholt third team who will be looking to continue their winning run in the Regional divisions.

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