CRICKET: Woodhall Spa defy rain to return to winning ways

First for sport
First for sport

Woodhall Spa CC 1st XI returned to winning ways on Saturday with a two wicket victory at Grimsby Town in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League.

Skipper Jack Luffman won the toss in favourable bowling conditions and was again justified in his decision as his opening bowlers of Jean-Pierre Prinsloo and Alfie Lindsey (1-12) took a wicket apiece to reduce the home side to 30-2.

Both bowlers bowled with control and skill and when they were changed for Joe And Mark Irving – the latter making his Premier League debut at the age of 53 – the home side’s batsmen were equally put under pressure.

Joe claimed two wickets as Grimsby reached 64-4 after 28 overs when the first of the day’s two lengthy rain breaks took place. This first one enforced the umpires to take an early tea and it somewhat halted Spa’s progress as, on the return ,Town’s recently disposed of captain Charlton had something to prove and blasted his way to 56 from just 39 balls, as he took advantage of a spilled catch.

However, the reintroduction of Prinsloo and Joe Irving halted the charge and eventually Grimsby finished on 180-9 from their 50 overs. Prinsloo ended with 3-52 off 11 overs while Irving completed his second 5-for of the summer, finishing with 5-51 off 17 overs. Wicketkeeper Jack Timby was again in outstanding form, taking four excellent catches.

Conditions were still in favour of the bowlers so Spa’s run chase was not going to be a straightforward task. Openers Luffman and Timby negotiated some early movement and the partnership had reached 30 before the latter misjudged a leave and was bowled for 14.

Prasanna Jayawardena joined his captain, who was beginning to hit his stride, and together they put on a commanding 51 before the former was bowled for 26. Luffman fell just after the drinks break for a good 43, and the Spa were soon 95-4.

Joe Irving and Ross Dixon then steadied the ship before dominating the home attack with some lusty blows and fine running between the wickets, but at 148-4 the rain came again. After the resumption, both lost their wickets in the first over and two more were to follow to reduce the Spa to 165-8 with 16 runs still to win.

However, the experienced Mark Irving (11 not out) and the ever cool Tom Caswell (6 not out), as he had done two weeks previously, made sure the 17 points were returning to Jubilee Park.

At home, Spa’s 2nd XI claimed a vital victory against their Grantham counterparts. Indeed it was a devastating victory based around a fabulous innings from Tom Dixon.

He arrived at the crease with the score on 48 and was out with just two balls of the innings remaining for a super 162, an innings that included a range of shots all around the wicket with a host of lusty blows, taking full advantage of an excellent batting surface at Jubilee Park. The most significant partnership was with Sam Cherry (30 not out) as the pair shared a stand of 111 for the seventh wicket to post a total of 306-7 from their 45 overs.

In reply, the visitors also put on a fine batting display and finished 195-6, with the Spa bowlers sticking to their jobs well, particularly as the Saturday evening storm drew in.

Captain Pete Jackson used his bowling attack well and it was that man Cherry who was the pick with 3-34 off 10. Matt Haslam claimed one wicket off his 12 overs, as did Jackson himself, and the returning Jonny Giles also claimed a scalp.

On Sunday, the Wanderers 1st XI entertained Boston in the Lincoln and District Premier League and ran out comfortable seven wicket winners.

Batting first, the visitors’ innings never really got going under the excellent bowling of the home side. Alfie Lindsey took 2-31 and Tom Siswick 2-27 as Boston posted just 137-5 from their 40 overs.

In reply, despite the early loss of skipper Jack Timby, the home side never looked in trouble. Opener Jack Luffman scored a solid 41 with Henry Wilson (34 not out) and Tom Dixon (36 not out) finishing the victory off in style.

Away at North Scarle, Pete Epton’s Wanderers 2nd XI side did not have one of their best days but the young team are sure to learn from their experience.

The home side posted 256-6 from 40 overs. John Temperton led the way with the ball with 2-30 off his 10 overs.

In reply, Spa could only reach 63 before being bowled out, Epton top scoring with a gutsy 27.