Trees keep going

Posted by Andy Worth on 6 August 2018

Sparsholt 1st XI vs St Cross 2nd XI.


Sparsholt now find themselves three games clear of 2nd placed Rowledge and in pole position to win the SPCL Div 2 title. From the remaining 4 games and 88 points available they require only a further 23 to mathematically secure promotion and 45 to win their first SPCL trophy. Every point Rowledge and St Cross miss in the final weeks of the season reduces those totals further. 


At about 1:30pm that calculation could have been very different with Sparsholt staring down the barrel of a sub 100 score and St Cross inflicting a heavy defeat on their Winchester neighbours. At 45 for 5 and then 92 for 7 Sparsholt were in a precarious position on a sluggish pitch that was offering support to both spinners and seamers. However as has been the case consistently with Sparsholt this season when their backs are against the wall they have found the resources to fight back. 


Sam O’Brien (24) led the fight back with a gritty knock, supported first by Stuart Taylor (20) and then Nayan Phagami (33). When O’Brien went to the returning Matt Haworth Nayan Phagami picked up the mantle of responsibility and with Dan Weir took Sparsholt from 118 for 8 to 159 before Weir was caught at long on for a vital 19. Phagami who played superbly and made batting look a comparative breeze was the last man out, Sparsholt closing on 167. 


Early wickets and tight bowling were the order of the day if Sparsholt were to get anything from the game and they got what they needed as Mike Haworth produced two superb deliveries to deliver a heavy body blow to St Cross. He first managed to get a ball just back of a length to skid and nip back to trap St Cross’s leading run scorer Hawkins plumb in front, before providing the delivery of the season to knock Lunn’s off stump cartwheeling out of the ground. The ball landing on a good length on middle and off, then seaming to beat the outside edge and like a wrecking ball destroy the off stump. 


St Cross were then never able to move the scoreboard along or survive for long enough periods to put Sparsholt under pressure. David Banks bowled his 10 overs for a miserly 23 picking up the wicket of Kevin Neave, caught at gully by Haworth. With the wicket spinning more and more Sparsholt still had 30 overs of spin up their sleeves which brought their innings to a stuttering standstill. Frith, Doubell and Doran returning a combined total of 6 for 61 from their 30 overs. 


The run rate had somehow rocketed to 8 an over by the 40th over and St Cross were on their knees. After a period of 9 overs where St Cross appeared to have given up chasing the total and playing for a solitary bonus point, Nayan Phagami capped a great day by delivering the last rights, bowling Perry-Lewis to put Sparsholt top of the league and now firm favourites for the title. Their position strengthened further by Basingstoke inflicting a fourth defeat on second placed Rowledge. 


Sparsholt host Paultons at Locks Lane on Saturday knowing a win could secure their promotion to SCPL Div 1 next year. On Sunday they host Calmore, again at Locks Lane with a win sending them to the Ageas Bowl and the final of T20 plate competition. 


Sparsholt 2nd XI vs Bournemouth 3rd XI


Sparsholt 2nd XI this week hosted the Bournemouth 3rd XI on another scorcher of a day at Locks Lane. Skipper Jamie Skeoch on his return from holiday was victorious at the toss and decided to put Bournemouth in the field. Opening pair Skeoch and Josh Williams both got off the mark with 4’s however Williams fell quickly in the third over. This brought Tom Foster to the crease and marked the start of fantastic innings. Foster and Skeoch both took their time but also punished the bad balls and soon had the score board ticking nicely. Both frequently finding the boundary as well as pushing fielders, Foster soon found himself at a well-made 50. However after a 100 run partnership and 20 over stand Skeoch was triggered LBW for 37. Foster now had a new partner in Chris Mitchell who also took his time and played well at the bad balls. Foster soon sat on 98 and then placed the perfect drive to find the boundary and also his maiden ton. Not long after Foster fell for a fantastic and important 108 with Sparsholt 185-3 from 35 overs. Mitchell carried on being supported by Tom Proctor to start and then Jonny Druce to follow and soon reached a very good 50. Sparsholt pushed on in the final stages scoring 42 runs from the last 5 overs and setting the daunting total of 266. 


Bournemouth were restricted at the start of their run chase by some excellent tight bowling from Tom Proctor (1-24) and Mark Stone (3-17). Soon enough Sparsholt had a breakthrough, Proctor with the deserved wicket of the Bournemouth opening batsman. This began another pressured faze from Sparsholt with four maidens being bowled in a row from Mark Stone with two of those wicket maidens. The first saw some good glove work from Mitchell behind the stumps managing to get a stumping of the other opening bat and the second bowled. This brought Lokesh Siva Kumar to the crease who came out with intent from his first ball and tried to dispatch a lot of balls. Man of the moment Foster (3-24) came into the attack and took a wicket in his second over, leaving Bournemouth 52-4 from 17 overs. This saw the Bournemouth captain Shambeel Choudhry take to the crease and along with Kumar a steady partnership formed for 13 overs. Choudhry the man to fall, Mike Doubell (2-28) claiming the wicket caught behind. Soon Doubell struck again claiming another important wicket of Kumar for 48, this left Bournemouth 125-6 from 31 overs. Knowing the run rate had to be upped the Bournemouth batsman tried everything they could to try and find the boundary. Some more tight bowling from Sparsholt bowlers Alex Thornton and Greg Whiting saw the rate ticking away from the opposition. With 48 runs being put on for the 7th wicket Foster soon again struck to dismiss number 7 Jack Gray for 38 which more or less marked the end of the Bournemouth batsmen. 173-7 from 40 0vers and needing 94 to win from five overs Sparsholt went in search of all wickets and maximum points. Foster and Stone struck leaving 2 overs to find the last wicket. However Bournemouth 13 year old Connor Smith played out the attack and the scores finished 195-9 from their 45 overs. Sparsholt claiming a 71 run victory and maintaining their top of the table spot. A big push required from the last three games with Sparsholt travelling to local rivals Hursley Park next week. 

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