CRICKET: Woodhall Spa enjoy a winning weekend

Tom Dixon on his way to 72 runs for Woodhall Spa at a sun-drenched Jubilee Park on Sunday. Photo: Nigel West

Tom Dixon on his way to 72 runs for Woodhall Spa at a sun-drenched Jubilee Park on Sunday. Photo: Nigel West

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Woodhall Spa Cricket Club enjoyed a victorious weekend with the first XI completing a convincing winning draw on Saturday against newly promoted Nettleham to claim 16 points and move up to joint third in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League.

Captain Jack Luffman won the toss and elected to bat on a hard and flat Jubilee Park surface and would have been delighted with the 241-7 posted by his team.

Despite the early loss of fellow opener Jack Timby, Luffman (28) and Prassana Jayawardene were enjoying a fruitful and entertaining partnership before the former was run out. However, the arrival of Joe Irving to the crease did nothing to suppress Spa’s batting dominance and together with Jayawardene the pair produced a delightful 117 run partnership.

Sri Lankan Jayawardene was happy to play second fiddle to Irving, who was playing one of the best innings seen at the ground for many a year, showing off an array of fine off and on drives. Jayawardene lost his wicket for a fine 55 and while it looked certain that Irving would reach three figures, he was unfortunately run out for 97 three short of what would’ve been a well-deserved century.

Spa did lose their way somewhat at this point under some good bowling from the visitors, but duo Henry Wilson (14no) and coach Paul Timby (30) made sure an imposing total was set.

It didn’t start well for the home side in the field and Nettleham got off to somewhat of a flyer, despite an early wicket for Irving. However, the introduction of spinners Ross Dixon and latterly Timby (2-33) firstly quashed any hopes of a run chase and then pushed the home side towards a full points victory.

Leg spinner Dixon was particularly impressive and he was well backed up the field to claim his first ever Premier League five wicket haul, finishing with 5-45 off his 16 overs.

Spa threw everything at Nettleham in order to claim that final wicket but the visitors hung on to finish 183-9 and claim a losing draw.

Away at Belton Park, Spa’s second XI claimed a vital five-wicket victory in the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division.

Bowling first, Spa were in fine form with the ball and managed to bowl out the home side for just 137. Strike bowlers Jack Cooke and captain Pete Jackson put the home side under early pressure, taking four quick wickets, two apiece.

Belton did stage a mini-fightback but the introduction of spinners Matthew Haslam and Rob Bee put pay to any large total being posted. Haslam (2-20 off his 12 overs) used all of his experience and Bee claimed three wickets in his 10 over spell.

All the bowlers were well backed up in the field by the young Spa side and wicket-keeper George Lindsey was in great form behind the stumps, claiming two very good catches.

Chasing down the target was never going to be an easy task but a crucial second wicket partnership between Bee and Tom Dixon (39) looked to have paved the way to victory, however on the latter’s dismissal two wickets fell to send some nerves through the visitors’ dressing room.

But the experienced Andy Scoley (17), playing his first game for the club in two years, hung around with Bee in what proved to be a match winning partnership. Bee played responsibly to finish 53no and see his side home for a well-deserved victory.

On Sunday, the two Wanderers sides were in action. The first XI travelled to Hartsholme in the Lincoln Sunday League Premier Division and claimed a first win of the season by just one run in an enthralling encounter.

The home side looked to be cruising to the 154 winning total at 88-2 but a Spa fightback through Ross Dixon (4-25) and Paul Timby (4-17) seemed to have derailed the hosts who were faltering on 127-9.

A dogged final wicket partnership looked to have stolen victory back but when skipper Chris Anderson introduced 15-year-old Alfie Lindsey in the 39th over, the story soon changed as he managed to trap Hartsholme’s Shillito LBW to bowl out the home side for 152.

Earlier, Spa’s top order failed again and were left to thank Paul Timby (33), Nathan Carter (18), Ross Dixon (47) and JP Prinsloo (16no) for getting the side to a total of 153 on a difficult surface.

This certainly wasn’t the case at home where Pete Epton’s second XI came out seven wicket winners in an exciting and high scoring Division Two encounter.

Heighington were the visitors to Jubilee Park and they batted first on what was a superb batting pitch and posted an imposing total of 239-9 from their 40 overs.

The Spa’s bowlers worked hard throughout the afternoon with Kieran Richardson (3-26), John Temperton (3-34) and Sam Cooke (2-25) the main wicket takers.

In reply, the home side produced a scintillating batting performance led by openers Tom Dixon and Adam Barker.

The former got off to a flying start and passed his half-century inside 10 overs. He was to lose his wicket for a well-played and entertaining 72 but his opening partner continued to dominate the visiting attack and posted his maiden century for the club.

Barker was quick to pounce on any loose deliveries and in partnership with 12-year-old Ollie Caswell (20no) almost took his side to victory. Unfortunately he was to lose his wicket for a superb 107 and it was left to skipper Epton (10no) to guide his side over the finishing line for an impressive first league win of the season.