Mixed results for the Trees

Posted by Tony Edwards on 7 May 2017

On paper, both side's batting line ups contrived to make Saturday's SPCL Division 2 opener a real spectacle. On a wicket that offered little lateral movement off the surface for either spinners or seamers Sparsholt made slow but steady progress initially having won the toss and elected to bat. The Hartley Wintney bowlers, backed up by some solid fielding, held a steady line and length and never really allowed the Sparsholt batters the opportunity to score freely.

Wickets fell at regular intervals with batters getting in and then getting out. Banks, Norris, Kennett and Foster all made starts but were unable to go on and play the big innings that was required. At 93 for 7 Sparsholt were in danger of not posting a total to defend, however Frith and Mitchel put together a partnership of 41 that briefly threatened to elevate Sparsholt to somewhere near 200.

However, some needless dismissals again handed the advantage back to Hartley Wintney with Sparsholt eventually all out in the 46th over for 149. 50 to 70 runs short of what would have probably been par. 

Sparsholt made an early inroad to the Hartley Wintney innings as Kerr drove loosely to lob an easy catch to Banks at point off Haworth. However, after an initial tight spell Collier (79) got stuck in to the Sparsholt attack paying strong shots up and down the ground with a full face showing the pitch had little in it to worry batters. He dominated a partnership of 100 with Plume (17) before he fell trying to manufacture a shot through cover off Frith's left arm spin.

At 109 for 2 Hartley Wintney were in prime position to coast home but Sparsholt's attack had other ideas. Backed up by solid fielding and tidy wicket keeping from debutant Jake Dunford, Sparsholt began clawing themselves back in to the game from a near impossible position. Frith held a tight line attacking the stumps, and Hartley Wintney's innings began to grind to a halt. Dot balls were interspersed with poor decision making which resulted in a needless run out and more wickets for Frith. At 137 for 7 and Frith in his final over the game was in the balance. Two close LBW's were turned down and a third given to leave the visitors at 138 for 8, Frith finishing with 10-4-21-6.

Sparsholt couldn't quite slam the door shut and Hartley Wintney inched themselves closer finishing the game off with a huge blow over midwicket for 6 to gain a narrow 2 wicket victory. 

Sparsholt captain Jeremy Frith commented: 

"We've obviously got to get clearer about how we are going to bat, and show better decision making in tight situations when scoring is tricky. That said we showed real character and fight last year in rescuing some games with the ball and in the field which that was evident again yesterday." 

Sparsholt's second team visited Longparish's respective second team on Saturday with a side mixed with experience and youth. New skipper Adam Gough lost the toss and Sparsholt were put into field. Tom Procter opened the bowling with some fine left arm swing bowling with Haidar Ali at the other end. Ali picked up a wicket with his 3rd ball and followed up with a wicket in his second over clean bowling both openers leaving Longparish at 5 for 2. Blackmore and Bearmark repaired the damage with a partnership of 66 before J Blackmore was bowled during a superb spell of bowling from Nayan Phagami.

Longparish moved the score up 140 with Bearmark moving to half century. Mark Stone bowled his typical economic spell of 10 overs 2 for 24 as did Andy Pryce. Joshua Williams picked up 2 quick wickets and Haidar Ali wrapped up the innings with a wicket and a run out with figures of 7 over 3 for 18 as the Longparish innings closed at 163 all out.

Sparsholt s reply started with veterans Andy Steggall and Andy Worth opening the batting. Worth fell early and Steggall dug in as Phagami (11) and Pryce fell leaving the score on 35 for 3. Skipper Gough batted solidly to take the score to 101 as Steggall reached his half century and was then bowled by Giles. A quick-fire 7 from Herridge and Whiting run out without facing a ball caused a panic in the batting as Sparsholt slipped to 127 for 7 as Gough also fell for a well-made 28.

Young debutant Joshua Williams batted stoically seeing off the opening bowlers allowing Tom Procter to get himself in at the other end. With 4 overs and 3 wickets left Sparsholt required 31 runs. The tall left handed Procter then unleashed some powerful hitting with two sixes over deep mid-wicket and 4 plundering 17 off one over. Procter then hit another 4 and single before Williams and was bowled quickly followed by Ali leaving Sparsholt needing 8 with one over to go. A dot of the first ball increased the tension as Procter crashed another 4 off the second and single off the third. With three needed to win Stone played his solid forward defensive getting his entire body behind the ball. He then played a classic cover drive through the covers to take Sparsholt to a well fought victory.

Sparsholt’s fixtures next Saturday (13th) have the first team travelling to Trojans for their next fixture, whereas the second team play at the Norman Edwards ground for the first time this season and play host to Rowledge 3. Sparsholt’s third team’s season gets underway with a trip to local side Compton & Chandlers Ford 3 in Regional Division 2 North East. Sparsholt host Hursley Park CC in the second round of the National Village Knockout Competition on Sunday 14th May.


Sparsholt Cricket Club are  on the lookout for great talent, both on and off the field – if you are interested on either playing or helping – please see our website (http://www.sparsholtcc.co.uk) or email info@sparsholtcc.co.uk for more details


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