Match Reports - 15th August

County Division 4 North – Steeple Langford 1st XI v Amesbury

Steeple Langford 1st XI kept their promotion hopes alive with a 27 run win away at Amesbury, despite what can only be described as a very below-par batting performance on a good wicket. Put into bat, skipper Andy and his son Tom Bennett once again set a good foundation, putting on 78 in 17 overs. Both looked very comfortable before being caught driving to mid-off, Tom scoring 40 and Andy 27, but a score in excess of 200 should have been obtained. However, due to very poor shot selection, Langford ended up struggling to 151 all out in the last over, with only young Alec Lloyd applying himself to hit 17. Smith took 4 for 23 and Gower 3 for 21 for the home team. Langford knew that they had to put in an excellent bowling and fielding performance to stand any chance of defending their low score but the Amesbury openers were aggressive from the start hitting 39 in the first 6 overs before Nick Partridge removed Renshaw for 30. Partridge then took a second wicket in his next over and spinner Tom Bennett was introduced into the attack early and removed Surenderan for 15 in his third over. Andy Bennett also brought himself on to slow the pace at both ends and with the runs drying up, the pressure started to show on the home team who were now losing wickets at regular intervals. Both Bennetts bowled through their 10 overs with Tom taking an excellent 4 for 25 and Andy 2 for 24. Langford now looked favourites to gain victory but Amesbury skipper Gower had other ideas and attacked the bowling as soon as he arrived at the crease, although it was still a big ask with no runs coming from the other batsmen. Langford were very pleased to have Luke Stephens returning to the team after a couple of months out through injury and he was soon into his stride to remove the last 2 batsmen, including the dangerous Gower for a hard-hit 40, the home side finishing on 124 all out. Stephens took a welcome 2 for 18 off 7.2 overs and Partridge 2 for 34 from his 10. With other results on the day going in their favour, Steeple Langford remain in 3rd place but it is now very tight between the top 3 sides.

STEEPLE LANGFORD II v WHITEPARISH II

Heavy rain all day Friday managed to seep under the covers making the Langford wicket slightly damp at one end but hard at the other so both Captains were keen to win the toss and bowl. As it was Langford were asked to bat and lost opener Adi Hughes early. Chris Miles and Stuart Emm then set about patiently setting a solid base against some tight and accurate bowling. Stu Emm (14) was eventually out just before drinks following which Raj Kumar (25) and Matt Pieterse (14) brought a little more impetus to the innings. Chris Miles was eventually out for a solid 55 allowing Darren Harvey (16) and Rob Emm to up the tempo with the final score being 192 for 9. Rob Emm’s 42 n.o. came off 28 balls in 28 minutes. Given the slightly two paced nature of the pitch this total was considered a good score to defend.

After tea Raj Kumar and Chris Miles opened the bowling and still managed to find plenty of movement despite the aging ball and the drying pitch. Whiteparish quickly fell behind the required run rate as the opening bowlers shared the first 4 wickets (Kumar 2 for 25, Miles 2 for 18). Langford then went for spin at both ends which again was very tight meaning the batsman were unable to accelerate the run chase. Darren Harvey (1 for 25) and young Tony Gibson (1 for 21) both probably deserved more than their single wickets. Bowling out of the setting sun Joe McNeilly caused a few problems (1 for 15) but it was again left to Matt ‘the Mopper’ Pieterse to finish things off with 2 for 23. An excellent performance by all the bowlers led to the wickets being shared around evenly and Langford eventually winning by 60 runs.

The result balances out Langford 2nds season again with 7 wins and 7 defeats for a solid top 6 position in the league.