Sparsholt’s seven-wicket win over British Gas Southern League Division 2 opponents Trojans at Stoneham Lane was a turgid affair.
The game, originally in doubt because of the poor, bumpy and potentially dangerous state of the Trojans outfield, was given the go-ahead after an umpire’s inspection.
Sparsholt never let go of the advantage they established in the 13th over when David Banks (3-22) picked up his first wicket with the dismissal of James Truscott (29) at 52.
Up until that point, runs had flowed freely with seven of the 13 boundaries Trojans managed coming in the initial 11 overs.
From that point on, Sparsholt strangled the Trojans' innings, denying boundaries and constantly building pressure.
Trojans' batsmen fought hard but were never able to create any momentum with Sparsholt's tight stump to stump line rewarded with seven wickets either bowled or leg before.
Mario Mohammed (28) and Syed Mahmood occupied the crease, picking up runs when they rarely became available. But with only six boundaries in 37 overs and some tight fielding in the ring, Sparsholt tightened their grip.
Wickets fell steadily as they were shared around with improving teenage spinner Nick Doubell (3-30) and Banks each picking up three and two for Jeremy Frith as Trojans were eventually dismissed for 167 in 48th over.
Sparsholt never had to push for runs as the odd streaky edge or lose delivery found the boundary and kept the scoreboard moving along.
Trojans maintained a ring field to the miserly Jamie Donaldson, who conceded only 19 runs in his ten overs.
Whilst run-rate was never an issue, the Sparsholt batsman fought hard to preserve their advantage, led by Jeremy Frith (75 not out), against a bowling unit well suited to the surface.
Frith was well supported by important contributions from Banks (30) and Sam Kennett (22no), whose straight six to win the match provided a glimmer of entertainment for those watching.