First up on Saturday at the Romsey Sports Centre where Sparsholt, who OTs had defeated earlier in the season in the Twenty20 Cup.
The visitors won the toss and chose to field first, giving Romsey the chance to post a big total.
The hosts took that chance, with opening batsman Jody Brown hitting 42 before being out LBW. There were also usual contributions from Chris Wood and Rob Newman who hit 22 and 32 respectively. However, it was to be Will Edwards who top-scored for Romsey making it back-to-back half-centuries as he hit 55. Youngster Harry Tulk also added a timely 37 to guide Romsey to 259-7 from their 50 overs.
It was then Sparsholt’s attempt to chase down the target of 260 and they got off to a good start with opener Michael Howorth hitting 53 but after he was removed by Wood, victory seemed unlikely for the visitors. Wood picked up a further two wickets and there were two each for Brown and Pete Newman as OTs restricted their visitors to 228 from their 50 overs to secure a 31 run win.
The day after, Romsey knew they were in for a sterner test as they hosted SEPCL Premier Division side Hampshire Academy in the Twenty20 Cup. The Academy side fielded three players who had featured for the county’s first team.
The hosts managed to win the toss this time, giving them the chance to put their prestigious visitors into bat.
The Academy got off to a quick start, with England U19 wicketkeeper Tom Alsop hitting 27 off just 15 balls before being bowled by Stu Shapland.
Despite losing wickets regularly, Hampshire continued to put runs on the board, this was despite the presence of Hampshire first team bowler Chris Wood in the Romsey attack. Ben Duggan top scored with 41 off 37 balls and Ben Caldera hit 29 as the runs continued to flow. There was also useful 14* from Mason Crane off just four balls as the Academy finished with 175 from their 20 overs. Shapland and Rob Newman each picked up a couple of wickets.
Romsey then came into bat but their hopes of an unlikely victory were seemingly scuppered early on as they lost Wood for just 6 to the bowling of Ryan Murray.
Pete Newman top scored with 22 off just 14 balls but when off-spinner Brad Taylor came on to bowl, Hampshire first XI’s youngster ever player, any feint hopes of success were quashed as he conceded just six runs from his three overs.
Eventually, the hosts were all out for 90 with more than five overs to spare but could be proud of their efforts against a talented Hampshire Academy side.