CRICKET: Woodhall Spa return to positive play

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Woodhall Spa first XI returned to more positive ways on Saturday when they recorded a winning draw in another exciting encounter with Boston CC in the Lincs ECB Premier League.

Having been asked to bat first by the home captain at the Mayflower, the Spa batsmen stuck to their task well on a wicket which wasn’t conducive to stroke play, particularly against the clever slow bowling of Deans and home skipper Baxter.

Spa had made a reasonable start thanks mainly to another impressive innings form Jack Timby. He again showed what form he is in at the moment with a pleasing 60 from just 64 balls, an innings that included 10 boundaries, and he goes into a trial game for Worcestershire CCC this week in a superb frame of mind.

Spa were soon reduced to 96-4 from 22 overs and at this juncture the innings could’ve gone either way. However, in the guise of captain Jack Luffman and 15-year-old Henry Wilson, the innings got back on track and the pair put on a match defining 76 for the fifth wicket.

Luffman, hampered somewhat by a hamstring injury, used his experience well to manipulate the field to continue to keep the scoreboard moving and Wilson followed suit, showing another pleasing element to his game. Luffman passed his 50 during the partnership and, during the final overs, useful contributions came from Tom Caswell (5), Ross Dixon (11) and Jean-Pierre Prinsloo (20 not out) as Spa posted a very challenging 223-9.

Luffman opted to opening the bowling with Prinsloo and the experienced off-spin of coach Paul Timby in order to make the most of the slow surface. His decision was vindicated as each removed one of the Boston’s opening pair.

Over the next 30 overs or more, despite the presence of former Spa batsman Jonny Cheer, the men from Jubilee Park were in control of the game and when Dixon picked up two wickets, and the returning Prinsloo another, it seemed as if the home side had settled for a draw despite having many wickets in hand.

But the arrival of skipper Baxter to the crease seemed to reinvigorate the potential chase and despite Spa being on the end of some more bad luck, Boston needed 16 off the last over, to be bowled by Timby. They managed to score just eight so 13 points were bagged thanks to a good all round team performance. Prinsloo finished with 2-48 and Dixon 2-49.

In the corresponding second XI fixture at Jubilee Park, the Spa side ran out excellent 10 wicket victors thanks to an unbeaten 174 run opening stand between Matt Sargeant and the returning Jack Hughes. Both took advantage of another good pitch and looked in fine touch as they both passed their half-centuries, as the winning line was reached in just the 23rd over to claim the full 20 points.

Earlier in the afternoon, Sargeant started well with ball in hand to claim the wickets of the Boston opening pair. Captain Pete Jackson also bowled 12 tidy overs, conceding just 28 runs and claiming a wicket, but it was spinner Matt Haslam who ripped the heart out of the visitors’ batting line-up with four wickets, as the home side bowled their counterparts put for 170 in the final over of the innings.

The Sunday Wanderers second XI travelled to Market Rasen in Division Two of the Lincoln and District League and completed a fine weekend for the club with a convincing eight wicket victory.

Bowling first, Pete Epton’s men dismissed the home side for just 140 inside 33 overs of the innings. Fifteen-year-old Luka Ware was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed senior best bowling figures of 4-62 off nine overs. The remaining six wickets were shared between the three spinners of Henry Wilson (1-36), Jack Timby (3-17) and Ollie Caswell (2-20).

In reply, a super opening partnership between Jean-Pierre Prinsloo and Tom Caswell seemingly took the game away from Rasen. Both were in good form and played an array of pleasant shots before the latter lost his wicket for 34. Adam Barker hit a quickfire 15 before Prinsloo (59 not out) and under-13 player Alex Hodson (16 not out) saw their side home for maximum points.