2nds win again! 2nd XI Match Report 26th June

STEEPLE LANGFORD II v ANDOVER IV

After morning showers and under a threatening sky, the covers were left on until 10 minutes before the start of the game. The unveiling of the wicket revealed what looked to be a typical Langford batting track and the Andover Captain took little time in choosing to bat first. This didn’t disappoint Langford too much as the overhead conditions and the new ball looked to favour what was a strong seam and swing bowling attack.

Matt Dhanji and Sean Bailey opened the bowling and kept things relatively tight without seeming to cause the batsmen too much difficulty. If anything the ball was probably doing too much in the air and off the pitch. However the introduction of Nathan Hill at the start of the 13th over brought instant reward as his long hop loosener was helped to square leg where Adi Hughes took a smart catch. Hill went on to take 2 for 37 off seven overs from one end while Chris Miles stopped up the other end bowling a beguiling mixture of out swingers and off cutters and taking 2 for just 15 off his full ten overs. Darren Harvey replaced Hill and kept the pressure on also taking 2 for 15 but off 5.4 overs while the returning Dhanji helped finish things off leaving him with 2 for 30 and Andover 136 all out. A very strong bowling performance that was backed up well in the field thanks to some good catching and another couple of run outs. Simon Bailey behind the stumps also deserves praise for two stumpings and a catch stood up to the quick bowlers.

Tea was had and the Langford reply started but the umpires brought the players off and called for the covers after just one over as light rain began to fall. This led to a tense wait for Langford as it was a game that was clearly there for the winning if the rain passed. Fortunately it did and the game restarted after a break of 39 minutes during which there was a thorough reading of the ‘what to do if it rains’ section of the league handbook. Ultimately it was agreed that Langford had a reduced target of 95 to win off 29 overs. Adi Hughes and Sean Bailey began carefully in the awkward conditions but slowly took control such that 56 was already on the board when Adi Hughes was the first out for 19. Matt Dhanji then kept Bailey company until the latter was out for a fluent 43 when the score was on 79. Angus Steele came in at number four and the two youngsters took the score to 94 meaning just one run to win. Rather than just pushing a single for the victory, Dhanji backed himself and hit a big six over the bungalows and into the road thereby bringing up the 100 and securing what could be a vital extra batting point come the end of the season.

Another excellent win for the seconds against what was previously an unbeaten Andover side. Langford are now third in the league having already played most the teams in the top half of the table.