PJ & Dicko Both Hit Tons

Woodhall Spa’s 1stXI returned to winning ways on Saturday in the Lincs ECB Premier League with an empathic and club record 250 run win over Alford.

On another hot and glorious day at Jubilee Park home skipper Jack Luffman won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on another good looking surface. He had been forced to make one change to his side with Sri Lankan batsman Harsha Vithana not passing a Friday night fitness test after dislocating a finger during training on Thursday. This meant young seam bowlers Alfie Lindsey and Jack Cooke were both included in the final XI and skipper Luffman would bat at four with Prasanna Jayawardena moving up one slot to number three.

Spa lost the early wicket of Henry Wilson (7) and it was a watchful first 10 overs from Ollie Caswell (18) and Jayawardena and Alford would have been happy to see the score at just 28-1 at this stage. However form this juncture it was all Spa. The pair went on to put on a 72 for the second wicket before Caswell was smartly stumped. This brought Luffman to the crease and he soon found his rhythm and what then followed in a 16 over partnership with his decorated colleague was entertainment of the highest order. The pair put on 50 in just six overs and eventually the partnership yielded a club record for the third wicket of 147. Luffman posted his first half century of the season during this period and Jaywardena went passed the 100 mark for the second time this season. The captain would eventually fall for a fine 71 from just 58 balls.

On his dismissal Joe Irving joined Jaywardena, who was now in full flow and it was a surprise when he hit a short ball straight to mid-wicket to end his superb innings on 131. He had combined elegant stoke play with a deft touch to use the rapid outfield to his advantage and his innings included 16 fours and one maximum. On his dismissal, Irving took up the free scoring mantle and, despite Spa losing wickets as the innings entered its final stages, he was able to reach a classy and entertaining 50 from just 30 balls with some very pleasant drives and one extravagant smash through the off-side, more akin to the courts at Wimbledon!!! Spa was eventually bowled out in the final over for a mammoth 338.

Alford’s task was made even harder once the home side’s bowling attack got in on the action too as opening bowlers Irving (3-18) and Alex King (2-21) reduced them to 18-3 then 32-5.

In fact, the visitors couldn’t put any meaningful partnerships together with Ross Dixon getting in the act with 3-24 while Lindsey (1-3) and a fine Cooke run-out meant Alford were bowled out for just 88.

Spa travel to Sleaford on Saturday in what is a third versus fourth encounter.

Away at Billingborough the 2ndXI had Tom Dixon to thank, as he scored a straight 100, his second of the season, to help post a challenging 240-7 in the South Lincs and Border Premier Division. He was ably supported by Pete Jackson who scored his first half-century of the season as the pair combined in a sixth wicket partnership of 97 after Matthew Sargeant’s men had been reduced to 79-5 by the home side earlier the piece.

Dixon and Jackson were a perfect foil for each other with Dixon again the aggressor with an innings that included 13 fours and three sixes. On his dismissal, Jackson shared important partnerships with Matthew Haslam (14) and Will Sharpe (14 not out) and would eventually finish unbeaten on 66.

The home side were soon in trouble at 40-6 with opening bowlers Sam Cherry (3-15) and Sharpe (3-39) doing the damage and they were well backed up in the field with Dixon, Danny Wells and keeper Alex Hodson all taking good catches.

Once again, it was then left to Haslam (3-32) to mop up the tail and young off-spinner Sam Cooke took his first wicket at this level and the home side’s final one as they finished on 128 giving Spa a well fought 112 run victory.

On Sunday, the Wanderers 2ndXI completed a six wicket victory at home to Sleaford in Division One of the Lincoln League. It was day to remember for Jack Hughes as he took his first ever five wicket haul with the ball and then finished unbeaten on 80 as he guided his side to maximum points.

The former wicket keeper has been developing his left arm spin and the hard work yielded results as he managed to find some turn and bounce as he claimed 5-14. He was well backed up in the field with wicket-keeper Alex Hodson taking three good catches stood up to the stumps.

Chris Lee (3-19) also bowled tidily as the home side pegged the visitors back after they got off to a flying start that helped them to eventually set Spa 180 for victory.

Alongside Hughes, openers Ollie Caswell (28) and Hodson (20) both looked in good touch and 16-year-old Matt Ashford (34) showed to all what hard work and dedication can do as he played a fine supporting role to Hughes in big third wicket partnership that took the stuffing out of the run chase and help propel the home side to the win.

PJ hit a fine 131 in the 1stXI's mammoth 250 run victory over Alford on Saturday.