Jayawardene century not enough for the Spa men

Prasanna Jayawardene.
Prasanna Jayawardene.

Woodhall Spa First XI succumbed to a seven-wicket home defeat to second-placed Grantham on Saturday in the Lincs ECB Premier League.

After winning the toss, skipper Jack Luffman elected to bat first on another good batting surface.

And he would have been disappointed with his side’s final total of 200, particularly having been 145-3 at one stage and following a delightful and classy hundred form Prasanna Jayawardene.

The innings started badly, with both Ollie Caswell and Harsha Vithana adjudged LBW, but a 90-run partnership between Henry Wilson (37) and Jaywardena ensued to put the Spa innings back on track.

But it all fell apart when Wilson and then Luffman (5) lost their wickets, heralding the all too familiar batting collapse, which saw Spa slump to 165-8.

While wickets were falling at an alarming rate, the experienced Jaywardene stood firm and showed how to rotate the strike, finding gaps in the field and punishing anything loose to post his first three-figure score of the season.

On his dismissal it was left to Alex King (12) and Jack Cooke (4 not out) to get their side to the 200 mark to claim four batting points.

Any hopes Woodhall may have had of bowling themselves to victory were dashed by an opening stand of 126, which put Grantham well in control.

Luffman rotated his bowlers in a bid to halt Grantham’s progress and it was the introduction of Cooke (2-17) that finally resulted in the breakthrough the hosts so urgently needed.

Cook’s breakthrough, along with some tight bowling from Vithana (1-32), ensured Grantham were at least made to work hard for the win, with the visitors passing the winning line in the 47th over without losing any further wickets.

Spa travel to Grimsby on Saturday looking to get back to winning ways.

With the first team going down at home to Grantham, Woodhall’s Second XI claimed an excellent 86-run victory away Grantham Seconds in the South Lincs and Border League Premier Division.

Batting first, Woodhall posted a challenging 214-8 from their allotted 45 overs.

Matt Sargeant (30) and opening partner Sam Cherry (47) set the foundations for the Woodhall innings and contributions from the returning Jack Hughes (27), Alex Hodson (14), Matthew Haslam (10), James White (25), Pete Jackson (15) and young Tom Ashford (11 not out) meant that full batting points were achieved.

In reply, and despite a half century from captain Mudie, the home side were never really in the hunt in the face of some accurate and tight bowling from the Spa men.

Will Sharpe (1-14), White (2-41), Alfie Lindsey (2-30) and Cherry (2-22) all played their part but the evergreen Haslam was in miserly form taking 2-7 from his eight overs, reducing the home side to just 128-9 form their 45 overs.

On Sunday, Ross Dixon’s Wanderers Firsts travelled to Ancaster in the Lincoln and District Premier Division and returned with a well-deserved victory.

Bowling first, Spa restricted the home side to 149-9 with all of the attack performing well.

Dixon and Dewi Bourke each took two wickets but Harsha Vithana was the star of the show, taking 5-14 from his seven over spell. He was helped by two stunning catches from Ollie Caswell at long-on and Jack Luffman at deep midwicket.

In reply, Spa reached their target with more than 10 overs to go, largely thanks to two fine half-centuries from opening batsman Nathan Carter and wicket keeper Brandan Laurenzi, the latter’s a maiden half century for the club.