Match Reports - 8th August

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

Steeple Langford 1st XI’s promotion hopes took a setback after a disappointing performance resulted in them losing by 46 runs at home to Wherwell. On a very hot day and the pitch looking full of runs, the away team skipper won the all-important toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat first. Nick Partridge bowled an aggressive opening spell in which he took 3 wickets to leave Wherwell on 54 for 3. However, with a lightning fast outfield and too many boundary balls being bowled, Beckingham (51) and Taylor (67) punished the home side’s sloppiness and a score of around 300 looked on the cards. However, the introduction of skipper Andy Bennett paid dividends removing the dangerous Taylor in his first over and hence slowing the run-rate. Wickham (31) and Young (24) were the only other batsmen to make useful contributions and in the end the home side were content to restrict Wherwell to 251 all out. Partridge took 4 for 43 and Bennett 4 for 46 from their 10 overs. Langford knew this score was attainable if they batted properly and father and son Andy and Tom Bennett got them off to a great start putting on 42 in 7 overs before the younger opener fell for 22. Adam McNeilly came to the crease and he and Bennett were going well until the older opener went for 28. The Wherwell bowling tightened up with the introduction of Guilfoyle and Langford struggled to keep up with the required rate in the middle part of the innings. McNeilly was run out for a solid 48 and Tom Dennis looked to get the rate back on track before being dismissed for a quickfire 22. Chris Mundy (48) and 16 year old Alec Lloyd (14) shared a stand of 47 but unfortunately the rate proved too high with Langford ending on 205 for 6, Guilfoyle taking a creditable 3 for 35 from his 10 overs.


Holidays meant that three of Langford’s second team regulars were called up to the first team which left the seconds looking threadbare and including three young colts. Trevor Thompson, fresh off the plane from his summer holidays, was also dragged kicking and screaming out of retirement. Rob Emm again won the toss and elected to bat with the openers Stuart Emm (19) and Tom Stobbs (29) progressing steadily from the outset and adopting very much a safety first attitude. Once wickets began to fall they fell regularly and it was only really Raj Kumar (55) who got on top of the bowling. Extras were the only other score to get into double figures. Langford were all out for 171 in the 40th over.

A leisurely tea was followed by Raj Kumar and Chris Miles opening the bowling but, despite an early wicket for Kumar, Farley ticked over nicely at 4 or 5 an over throughout without have to take any major risks. Chris Miles toiled through his 10 overs (0 for 34) with Matt Pieterse (1 for 27) and Joe McNeilly (1 for 25) getting slightly better reward. With time running out and the target getting closer an inspired bowling change brought young leg spinner Tony Gibson in to the attack with instant reward as his first ball in Langford senior cricket bowled the Farley opener for 56. He continued to bowl well (1 for 23) and to cause the batsmen concern and was unlucky not to get a couple more wickets at least. The returning Kumar at the other end winkled out another to finish on 2 for45 but it was too little too late as Farley won by 5 wickets.

Thanks must go to the young guns Jack Kininson, Luke Sharp and Tony Gibson for turning out and doing a good job in the field but overall a slightly lacklustre performance from Langford got what it deserved.