1st XI Match Report - 22nd August 2015

County Division 4 North – Steeple Langford 1st XI v Sparsholt 2nd XI

Steeple Langford 1st XI secured promotion from County Division 4 North by gaining maximum points with a convincing 132 run win at home against Sparsholt 2nds. In what was definitely a game of 2 halves, it was hot and sunny when Langford skipper Andy Bennett won the toss and elected to bat on another excellent home track. Once again, the openers got them off to a flyer putting on 42 in the first 7 overs before both fell in quick succession, Tom Bennett hitting a rapid 35. The pace then slowed a bit with Langford losing another couple of wickets to leave them on 89 for 4 until Tom Dennis and Nick Partridge(23) stabilised things. Dennis then shared stands of 53 with Gary Smith (17) and an unbroken one of 54 with young Alec Lloyd(24*) to see the home team to a respectable score of 234 for 6. Dennis batted excellently to finish unbeaten on 86 and for the the away team, 16 year old Patterson was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 57. During tea the predicted cloud and unsettled weather closed in to possibly threaten completion of the game but the rain held off for Sparsholt’s innings to begin. The openers had a steady start but accurate bowling restricted them to 29 when they lost their 1st wicket in the 10th over with light intermittent rain starting to fall. To speed things up and try to ensure 25 overs were bowled for a result to be obtained, Langford’s skipper introduced Tom Bennett and Luke Stephens into the attack and this immediately paid dividends with Stephens taking a wicket in each of his first 2 overs and Bennett one in his third to remove the dangerous Wilson (22). From then on the away team struggled against the tight bowling with Bennett taking 2 for 32 from his 10 overs and Stephens 3 for 13 from 6. Andy Bennett then brought himself on and in a miserly spell of 8.4 overs he took an excellent 4 for 5, including that of away captain Pryce who tried to hold the innings together with a resolute 32. Sparsholt ended up on 102 all out in the 42nd over but great credit must be given to them for battling on through the worsening, though not dangerous, conditions with the game being played in a very good spirit. With one game to go, Steeple Langford are now in second place and still have a chance to win the league if results go their way.