Match Reports - 18th July 2015

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

Steeple Langford 1st XI got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 9 run win away at Winterslow. With 5 regular 1st teamers unavailable, the away side expected a tough game and this proved to be the case. On winning the toss Langford batted first and got off to a flyer with skipper Andy Bennett (30) and his son Tom Bennett (40) punishing any balls that were slightly wayward and the pair put on 73 in the first 10 overs before falling in quick succession. With Winterslow bowling much tighter,the run rate slowed but Adam McNeilly and Martin Grearson (22) kept the board ticking. McNeilly and Nick Partridge (32) then shared a stand of 53 and started to push things along but Langford then lost another couple of quick wickets to leave them on 167 for 6. However Adam Dhanji then joined McNeilly and he took the attack to the bowling, the pair putting on 45 before McNeilly fell for a solid and patient 56 and Dhanji eventually holed out for an aggressive33. The tail then wagged and took the score to 241 for 8 at tea. In reply, Winterslow also attacked from the start and despite losing an early wicket, took advantage of some sloppy Langford bowling to progress to 46 before Darren Harvey took his second wicket. When the third wicket fell on 77 this brought together Miles and Rowe (45) who put on 68 and kept the home team up with the rate. However, Dhanji was brought into the bowling attack and straight away removed Miles for a fine but chancey 61 and then also Rowe a couple of overs later. With the Langford bowling and fielding tightening up, the rate started increasing and wickets were regularly falling leaving Winterslow needing 16 from the last over to win. This proved too much and despite Dawson’s (26*) efforts the home side fell 9 runs short with Dhanji capping an excellent all-round performance by taking 3 for 37, Harvey taking 2 for 26 and Partridge 2 for 45.

STEEPLE LANGFORD II v AMPFIELD & NOTH BADDESLEY II

What a great game – 479 runs in total and all going down to the last ball.

The Ampfield captain lost the toss and Rob Emm chose to bat first on what was a hard pitch and lightning quick outfield. The returning Alex Penny opened the batting in his normal forthright manner dispatching the ball to and over the boundary with ease. He completed his century in the 16th over with a massive six into the field before being out stumped the very next ball going for yet another big one. The rest of the Langford batsman only had to play second fiddle during the carnage but after Penny’s departure stepped up and through Matt Pieterse (28), Rob Emm (21), Tom Dhanji (20 n.o.) and three other scores in the teens finally amassed 240 for 9. Tom Dhanji and Joe McNeilly frustrated the Ampfield bowlers at the end to winkle out a few extra runs and make sure the fielding team were out in the sun for the full 42 overs.

At tea the cloud cover increased and bonfire smoke wafted across the pitch to make batting conditions for the away team that little bit more difficult. However, the Ampfield openers rose to the challenge and played positively to tick along at, or just below, the required run rate in knocking off the first 100. For a change Matt Pieterse (3 for 35) was required to mop up the openers rather than the tail which he began with his first ball inducing a top edge that Joe McNeilly held on to well on the square leg boundary. With the opening partnership split Langford thought the win was theirs but the Ampfield players kept hitting out and pressurising the field despite wickets beginning to fall. The crucial point appeared to be when the other opener was bowled for 96 by Tom Dhanji (2 for 63) but no, runs kept coming such that eight were required off the final over with five wickets in hand. With the fielders all on the boundary some ones and twos left three needed off the last ball. A big swing, a miss, a scampered bye and Langford won by just one run. Credit must go to Tom Stobbs for holding his nerve when bowling the final over.

A good win but may be just a little bit too close for comfort.