Posted by Andy Worth on 7 September 2016

CALA Homes sponsored Sparsholt's season ended with a tinge of disappointment as they were narrowly defeated by Langley Manor in the final of the SPL T20 at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.

Sparsholt, captained by Dave Banks with club captain Andy Worth watching from the sidelines, batted first and Stuart Tognarelli and Mike Haworth (15) added 21 before Haworth was bowled by Hamid (2 for 21). Tognarelli was out in the next over, and Jeremy Frith soon followed. This slowed Sparsholt's progress, and Banks was forced to bat cautiously against tight bowling and fielding as Tom Foster also went cheaply. Jamie Skeoch, who took the 'trees' to victory with an undefeated fifty at Fair Oak, joined Banks, but the introduction of Graham Noble and Craig Renders meant that only 45 runs were on the board at the halfway point. Renders bowled Banks (24) before Kiwi Kyle Ruffell came to the crease for his last innings in England. Skeoch (22) and Ruffell (33) hit a six each as a mixture of caution and aggression took the score past 100. Ed Jenner, Chris Mitchell and Nick Doubell nudged the score upwards as the innings closed. Ali Cheyne took two of the last three wickets to fall, finishing with 3 for 22. When Langley Manor replied, Mike Haworth removed Dave Castle cheaply, but Connor Browne (15) and Cheyne (13) quickly took the score to thirty. As has happened so often this season, the introduction of the wily spin of Frith slowed progress dramatically. Banks (2 for 21) juggled his bowlers at the other end, knowing wickets were needed, and when Frith (2 for twelve in four overs) took wickets in his last over Sparsholt were right back in the match. It was clear that the wicket of Graham Noble was vital as Nick Jenkins joined him with the score at 75. Banks struck Noble on the head with a good bouncer, but the Manor man was not to be dislodged. Both sides brought a large number of spectators, and every ball was now being clapped and cheered by those of one side or the other depending upon whether or not a run was scored. With the tension at its highest point, Noble (37 not out) hit three boundaries from Ruffell's last over, meaning that only five runs were needed from twelve balls. Nick Doubell bowled a tight last over, but Jenkins (21 not out), who had offered great support to man of the match Noble, hit the second ball of the last over for four to take his side to victory.

 On Saturday, rain prevented a result in Andy Worth's final league match as captain. Will Kerr struck a fine century as hosts Hartley Wintney posted 289 for 7 on their small village green ground. Stuart Tognarelli showed Sparsholt's intention with three boundaries as the trees quickly reached 21, but the predicted heavy rain set in with less than three overs completed. Sparsholt's mid table position ensures another season in the second division of the SPL next year.

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