After a succession of defeats, a trip to Sparsholt was always going to be a tough ask for the 2nd team given their poor record against them in past seasons. With the wicket quite central, this meant the ground was relatively short square on both sides, and with the wicket looking a little bowler friendly South Wilts skipper Rob Pittman decided to have a bowl.
Marc Burton was to lead the attack setting a fine example. 2 early wickets gave the visitors a lift that was needed and at 30-2 it was looking the right decision to bowl first. However experienced Sparsholt captain Jeremy Frith was to come to the crease and show his quality. He blunted the South Wilts attack, seeing off Burton’s 10 overs which were to only leak 13 runs and when the backup bowlers failed to provide the same quality, the innings was slowly getting away from South Wilts. Ben Huntley on debut made a breakthrough in a promising spell and Matt Burton, being used in the middle overs, also claimed the wicket of Sam Kennett for 19.
Frith however was continuing untroubled, sweeping the spinners at ease and putting away anything loose from the seamers. When he completed his century, the score was already in excess of 220 with still 6 overs to go. Pittman and Matt Burton finished the innings as well as they could have given the dimension of the grounds and the innings was to conclude at 268-9. David Banks the main aggressor at the end of the innings with 41, Rob Pittman 3-72 off his 10.
In reply, the 2nd xi got off to a positive start. Owain Phillips playing in his usual attacking manner and with Henry Smith rotating the strike, it was of surprise when Phillips was bowled when 45 was on the board. With Luke Hansford only having less than an hour to bat due to a personal commitment, he also played positively for his 35 but unfortunately this was to be the tail of the whole innings. Batters getting in but not going on, Smith falling for 24, Pittman 26 and Pearce 33, whilst all showing promise, 30s don’t win games when chasing 269. Steve Kidd was to finish unbeaten on 32 but with no major contribution, South Wilts failed to even pick up maximum batting points, eventually all out for 211. David Banks 3-32 and Jeremy Frith rounded off a fine day personally, finishing with 4-51.
It was to be another chastening day for the second string, knowing that a win must come now sooner rather than later to boost their hopes. They visit St Cross 2nds on Saturday and with 6 of the last 10 games at home, they still know that this is a position that can be rescued.w