The long trek to old-time rivals Steep was well worth it as South Wilts 3rd XI earned themselves a comfortable win. This win pushes the young South Wilts side up to third in the table with last week’s league leaders, Amport, dropping below them with a third loss on the trot. Only Liss and Odiham stand in the way of this young side’s ambition to top the table.
Skipper Jody Everett won the toss and decided to bat on what proved to be a decent batting deck. Darren Sargent(50) and Henry Smith(43) got the team off to a swift start at 6s and 7s, and the run rate never showed any sign of abating as the rest of the batting order chipped in. Despite losing wickets fairly regularly, batsmen got in and got on: Ben Richards(40) and James Wade, top-scoring on 60, both batted maturely. South Wilts 3rd XI eventually finished on 284 for 9 from their allotted overs: well above-par for the track. Despite Tom Mercer and Alex Bone getting 3 and 2 wickets respectively, Steep’s most economic and accurate bowler was Will Yates (1 for 43 from 9 overs).
In reply, Steep lost the early wicket of wicket keeper-batsmen Dale Collins for just 1. However, Tom McCubbin(36) and Dean Knight(63) put on a sizeable partnership that threatened for a while. In the past Dean Knight has always scored runs against South Wilts 3rd XI in this division, so when Ed Wade induced Dean to chip an easy one into the large grateful hands of Iestyn Williams there was a sigh of relief. And when Graham Hughes – another thorn in the side of South Wilts bowlers – went as cheaply as possible to the guileless spin of Ed Wade with a stumbling caught and bowled, skipper Jody Everett knew the tide had turned. Guy Anderson (31), coming in at 5, was the last of the resistance as all South Wilts bowlers, with the exception of Paul ‘Foxy’ Wylie, contributed to the team’s wicket haul. Steep 1st XI were eventually left high and dry on 202, 82 runs short of their target. Sam Burton, Ed Wade, Henry Smith and Ben Richards all getting 2 wickets a piece.
South Wilts 3rd XI’s eighth win in a row now puts them firmly into promotion contention. They have already beaten league leaders Odiham. Next week is a well-earned week off which will be followed by an away trip to Hartley Wintney 2nd XI on 29th July.