CRICKET: Woodhall Spa claim first outright victory of season

Woodhall Spa man of the match Joe Irving.
Woodhall Spa man of the match Joe Irving.

Woodhall Spa 1st XI recorded their first outright win of the season in the Lincs ECB Premier League, away at Bourne on Saturday.

It was a morale boosting 20 point haul for Jack Luffman’s men and one that was even more satisfying with no less than three of the club’s under-15 players playing vital roles in the win. Indeed, it was Tom Caswell, who on debut at this level, along with Chris Anderson, put together a match winning 44 run partnership to take their side to the 148 winning total.

Earlier in the afternoon, under-15 captain Alfie Lindsey opened the bowling with five tight and controlled overs, along with 18-year-old Jean Pierre Prinsloo. Together they made run scoring difficult for the home side and justified Luffman’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss – his first correct call of the season.

The Bourne openers, the Stroud brothers, tried to latch on to any loose deliveries and it was a full toss that accounted for the first wicket to fall with the score on 37, when Prinsloo caught well off his own bowling.

The introduction of Joe Irving, who hadn’t been well during his morning journey, accounted for the next two wickets to fall when he produced two fine out-swinging deliveries, one of which accounted for the dangerous Morgan. Spa then reduced the home side to 85-5 when leg-spinner Ross Dixon bowled at Stroud (37) and Lincolnshire wicket-keeper/batsman Wilson for just five, with well taken catches by Luffman and Lindsey.

The home side tried to rally but they found Irving in invincible form and he finally finished with outstanding figures of 6-33 from 16.1 continuous overs. He was well backed up in the field and wicket-keeper Jack Timby once again showed his talents with an outstanding one handed diving catch. Prinsloo picked up the remaining wicket and the home side were bowled out for 147.

It was never going to be an easy task for the visitors in conditions that were still favouring the bowling side and at 18-2, with both openers back in the pavilion, the home side were in buoyant mood. However, a 43 run partnership between Prasanna Jayawardene and man of the match Irving then ensuedm with both players quick to pounce on any scoring deliveriesm coupled with excellent running between the wickets.

With the score on 63 and Jayawardene well in controlm he was adjudged to have nicked a pull shot behind and was given out for 27. Henry Wilson completed the under-15 trio and he put on a valuable 20 plus partnership with Irving, before edging spinner Dixon to slip.

By this point, Irving looked on course for a much deserved half century but a tired looking drive to point meant he fell eight runs short. Dixon soon followed before the aforementioned Anderson and Caswell combination took over.

Anderson was unsurprisingly the more dominant of the two and played a mature and extremely valuable innings. Showing quick feet and big-hitting ability against the home spinners, he led his side home with 49 not out, an innings that included three fours and three maximums. He was well supported by Caswell (6 not out) who showed determination and no less skill to ensure Spa crossed the winning line.

At home, the 2nd XI entertained their Bourne counterparts and were left to rue a number of dropped catches that ultimately cost them victory. No less than 14 were spilled as Bourne posted an imposing 273-8 from their 45 overs.

Sixteen-year-old Jack Cooke was the stand out bowler for the home side, taking five wickets in his 12 over spell. The evergreen Matthew Haslam chipped in with three wickets, but along the way dislocated a finger which would mean he was unable to bat in the run chase.

In reply, the Spa made a good fist of chasing down the total on another very good pitch and all of the top six batsmen got starts, but that one big score eluded them all. Openers Tom Dixon (10) and Adam Barker (29) both played well before losing their wickets, as did Matthew Sargeant (26).

Middle order men Sam Cherry (34) and James Harris (25) hit some lusty blows in an attempt to charge for the wining line, but ultimately it wasn’t to be as the home side finished with maximum batting points on 204-9, with Haslam unable to bat.

Sunday’s home Wanderers 1st XI game versus Middle Rasen fell foul to the weather, while Pete Epton’s 2nd XI travelled to Owmby and were 37-1 before time was called due to the heavy rain.