A trio of victories at the halfway point

Posted by Tony Edwards on 5 July 2019

Sparsholt completed the first half of Southern Premier League Division 1 season on Saturday with a comfortable if not lacklustre 86 run win over Ventnor to move in to second place behind Hook. A home victory seemed the only likely outcome as Ventnor arrived with only eight players and with Sparsholt winning the toss and batting the game lacked any oxygen to bring it alive. 

However a series of early wickets with the new ball got Sparsholt’s nerves jangling however Sam O’Brien and Liam Doran (68) saved any Sparsholt blushes with a superb 149 run stand. Australian O’Brien notching up his maiden Southern League Century, 126 of 109 balls. It was a composed innings littered with strong shots all around the ground, and a much needed one. After Doran fell Sparsholt continued to lose wickets and regular intervals, eventually closing on 283 all out in just over 40 overs. 

Ventnor came out to bat and soon found themselves up against it as Perrin struck two early wickets. A partnership of 68 between Westhorpe and Willis lifted Ventnor to 93 before Willis fell and then wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Ventnor’s total was boosted at some speed in the closing overs at Snell (62) made use of scoring opportunities as Sparsholt looked to pick up the last remaining wickets on another belter of a wicket at Locks Lane. 

Whilst it was a day that will not live particularly long in the cricketing memory Sparsholt took a full compliment of points from the game and have set themselves up to challenge for the title.

Sparsholt 2nd XI travelled to fellow mid-table residents Overton in search of their first away win of the season. With the temperature creeping into the 30's captain Jamie Skeoch won the toss and elected to bat. Skeoch and Andy Steggall opened the batting for Sparsholt, however some tight bowling from Watts and Cross saw Skeoch fall in the fourth over. This bought the returning Tom Foster to the crease, who along with Steggall plugged away under the scorching sun. Having seen off the opening bowlers and the majority of the first change Foster fell for a fantastic 41 and was shortly followed by Steggall for a just as important 22. This bought in Craig Harrington and Chris Mitchell who again plugged away and steadily increased Sparsholt's run rate. The pair continued to take many singles that were on offer and find the boundary under the roasting sun. Mitchell was caught in the 34th over for a well made 32 with Sparsholt 147 for 4. Jonny Druce came and went for 7 bringing Greg Whiting to the crease, he found the boundary with a one bounce four first ball followed by some maximum bat speed the next and then a six to the short boundary off his third. Whiting fell for a quick-fire 18 three overs later with the score 197-6. Joshua Williams, Archie Hillier and Will Johnston all continued to support Harrington who made it to a excellent 50. Sparsholt finished on 215 for 8 with a fantastic umpiring display from Andy Worth.

With the heat slightly subsiding and the pitch massively subsiding 215 was looking a very good score. A great opening attack commenced for Sparsholt from Tom Foster (8-2-16-1) and Will Johnston (9-1-23-3) with opening bat Patel falling caught behind in the third over off Foster. Johnston then joined the party bowling some genuine heat to match the weather and claimed the other opener in the sixth over. With the youthful foster struggling to catch his breath he took a blow and Joshua Williams (8-3-18-3) entered the attack. Another wicket was claimed by Johnston bowling Watts for a duck followed by Williams in the next over taking Cox for 1. Sitting four wickets down for 12 Sparsholt's tails were wagging and the confidence was high. The star man with the bat Harrington (7.2-1-34-2) joined the attack and after some attacking batting from Galvin and Miller, Harrington claimed the scalp of Galvin caught behind for 21. Miller shortly followed his team mate back pavilion after a great ball from Williams saw his middle stump bent back. Williams soon struck gold again finding the edge and with some juggling the circus would be proud of Skeoch managed to hold on for Williams' third wicket. Overton were now in a disastrously bad potion of 62-7 from 21 overs. Chairman Andy Worth (8-0-28-1) was the next bowler to enter the attack and after a couple of overs of loosener's he eventually found his line. He bowled Gray for a team high score of 24 with some shouts from around the boundary potentially comparing Worth to the man himself, Shane Warne. Once he'd looked at his bus pass and realised he was still Andy Worth he was taken out of the attack and Harrington and Johnston were bought back on in search of the last couple of wickets. Johnston soon found that of Bown for 11 and the scores on 97-9 from 29 overs. Having turned down drinks and chosen to go in search of the last wicket Sparsholt found themselves plugging away again for the next 13 overs when Harrington finally found the edge and had Tomlin caught behind for 19 for and giving Sparsholt a well deserved 75 run victory.

Sparsholt 3’s travelled to Ashford Hill on a very hot Saturday. The day started well when Sparsholt actually won the toss a very rare occasion and decided to bat. Berrill and Pryce opened the batting to which was the start of a master class of how to open the batting at the first drinks break Pryce had just brought up 50 and the score was on 98-0 after 15 at the second drinks break we still hadn’t lost a wicket with Sparsholt 178-0 after 28. Straight after this though Pryce fell for a well worked 98 and Berrill fell a couple overs after for 57 leaving the score 195-2 with 8 overs left. This meant in the last 8 overs with plenty of wickets in hand they rest of the batters could have a bit of a swing and try to get as high a score as possible Ley (17) Ellis (20) Eastwood (11) Tucker (25*) and Trivett (7*) meant they finished on 273-5 off their 40 overs. 

Ashford hill came out to bat against opening bowlers Dodd (5-0-14-0) and Sams although no wicket fall from their opening 10 overs bowling was kept tight and meant that Ashford Hill was only on 27-0 needing a further 247 to win of the last 30 overs. Stewart and Trivett then came on picking up wickets and finishing their first spells with the score 47-5 (22). This led to Matthews (6-2-6-2) and Eastwood (6-1-30-0) bowling good spells before Trivett (8-2-14-2) and Sams (8-1-32-0) returned to finish their overs and then Stewart with a couple (7-2-15-4). Needing one more wicket in the last over to gain maximum points from the game Trivett brought Ellis onto bowl to try and tempt with some flighty bowling. It worked a treat with the 3rd bowl of the over getting the wicket (0.3-0-4-1) and Sparsholt winning by 152 runs and gaining maximum points and are now top of the league at the halfway stage of the season.

This week the first and third teams take trips to Sarisbury Athletic and Petersfield 3 respectively, while the second team host OT's & Romsey 3 at the Norman Edwards Ground.

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