1st XI sign off with Thunder and Lightening.
Aptly for this summer Wherwell were forced to play a home game on a neighbours ground under leaden skies with rain forecast. Whilst many games were called off Wherwell debated how to get the mower going so that the pitch would be more suitable for cricket rather than a picnic, unfortunately whilst they pondered this the unthinkable happened, Captain Dave Langford won the toss!
So the mower was obsoleted and Wherwell elected to field knowing that a maximum points win could see them finish in the top 10. Christian Nicel and Stuart Taylor continued their partnership with the new ball and quckly were amongst the wickets as the visiting Sparsholt batsmen struggled to cope with the swing and pace. A passing thunderstorm shortened the match meaning the maximum points win would be difficult so Wherwell just set about going for the jugular.
Stuart Taylor bowled a rain interrupted 3 overs taking 1 for 4, his partner in crime Nicel was the most successful taking 4 for 34 from 9 (should have been 5, sorry!) but the change bowlers were just as destructive with Matt Guilfoyle taking 2 for 5 from 8 and Nathan Young finishing things off with 3 for 30 from 3.5. Sparsholt were all out for 77 having only used 24 overs.
The rain meant that Wherwell had only 27 overs but the score revised down to 57 looked well within their capabilities. Taylor opened the batting and looked in the mood to finish things in the fewest number of balls, having tried to hit a six from Hurstbourne to Longparish (nearly made it!) he was run out for a quick fire 20, 2 subsequent quick wickets fell as batsmen tried to bully the attack and may have caused a panic on another day but this was different, Captain Langford (16 n.o) was joined by Guilfoyle (12n.o) who with the words of encouragement from the Sparsholt Fielders ringing in his ears hit the first ball he faced for a handsome 6 to follow his first ball success when bowling earlier. Not to be outdone even Langford managed a straight 6! ( I saw it, it did happen…).
Wherwell reached their target of only 5.5 overs courtesy of 2 wides to complete a somewhat disjointed season and ended 11th in County Div 4 North which
considering that 4 seasons ago they were in RD3NW is to be considered a fine achievement.
Both teams went into the game knowing it was going to be a real close one. KJM sponsored Wherwell in true tradition lost the toss and were asked to bat. Craig Beckingham and Stuart Taylor opened the batting and faced a some good lines and lengths from Robin Richards and Robbie Taylor. A smart catch by Stewart Clackson seen the end of Craig Beckingham, Taylor got a lifeline when bowled from a no-ball, he would go one to punish the bowlers for this mistake. A couple more quick wickets seen the returning Marc Von Guionneau the crease and he continued where he left of last season hitting the ball very hard to all parts of the ground making a very quickfire 24 before chipping one up to midwicket. Taylor then passed 50 still looking in good shape as wickets fell around him. Going into the last 5 overs Taylor required only 10 runs but had only 2 wickets left. Unfortunately Taylor was run out for 95 with 2 overs remaining as Wherwell ended 179 all out.
In reply Andover knew scoring 180 wouldn’t be easy but gave it great go. Taylor and Christian Nicel bowled well in tandem and no surprise it was Taylor who made the breakthrough as it turned out to be his day. He picked up 2 wickets on in his first spell, Nathan Youngs spin reduced the rate and picked up 2 wickets for 24 runs from his 8 overs, John Foster took a few overs to get rid of the cobwebs but started to get into the swing of things hitting some good lines but A strong innings from Stewart Clackson looked promising for the home side but a full stretch stunning catch from Rory Stewart Richardson was the end of him. A few big hits made the game close towards the end as Andover only required 5 a over with 5 overs left. Stuart Taylor returned to did a brilliant job cleaning up the tail. Taylor 4-41 from 9 overs. Andover 162 all out from 42 overs.
KJM sponsored Wherwell travelled the short distance over to Whitchurch in a must win game to keep survival hopes alive. Both teams hampered with injuries and holidays did well to field to 11 players. Wherwell lost the toss and were asked to bat, Wherwell got lucky in the first over when Taylor was dropped from his first ball, something Whitchurch would go on to regret. Leamon fell early at the other end to a well taken catch. Both opening bowlers bowled well without the rewards disserved. S Ralph and K Ralph pinned Wherwell back as they looked to build a partnership Taylor got going for the first time this season as him and Taylor set about increasing the run rate. Jakeman soon fell for 16 this brought the classy Stewart-Richardson into the crease an set about bowling hitting a quick fire 37 including one over of 22. This set Wherwell up for a late push, Taylor finally fell for 57 LBW to his old team mate Marriot. Nathan Young 45 and Ed John 33 had some fun in the last 10 overs hitting a 50+ partnership to frustrate Whitchuch as Wherwell ended 229 all out. Pick of the bowlers was Dodd 4-44.
Whitchurch always knew that chasing 229 second was going to be hard and so it proved as Christian Nicel and Taylor removed the 2 openers, Good sensible batting from the middle order Greeham 49 and Western 37 seen Whitchurch claw there way back into the game but tight bowling soon stopped that as Guilfoyle and Young stopped any chance they had. Damo Hack come in for a bash at the end and made sure Whitchurch picked up a extra batting point as he took them to 176-7.