Hampshire v Metro Devils – 10 July!
The Devils had a stressful start to this Sunday match – unsure if all the players could get onto the train at Waterloo and Clapham junction was the start. Then on arriving at Fratton station, one of the book cabs was almost taken by someone waiting at the rank; not that any of the three cabbies knew where to go for Hillsea cricket club.
Dropped outside Portsmouth college, the team had to phone Hampshire before the friendly club groundsman appeared out of the bushes on the far side of the road.
A winding track between stinging nettles led to the clubhouse and a hard, sun-baked cricket pitch. Not that the visitors were the only ones who had trouble finding the ground as an early start was not possible as the home side only arrived in time for a start on time.
The home side won the toss and invited Metro to bat under bright blue skies that had just a few puffy white clouds in them.
A very hot day was expected, but a cooling breeze blowing for most of the day did make the playing conditions at least tolerable. Prem and Chris opened but were unable to get the match off to a good start for the Devils as in just the second over, Chris was bowled just after hitting a no-ball for two. Hasmukh and Prem rebuilt carefully before Hasmukh was bowled by the home skipper at the end of the fifth over.
Prem then began to settle into a good scoring rhythm scoring a series of boundaries all around the ground, and at the first drinks break, after nine overs, 61 had been scored. After drinks, Simon Cookson came on for Hampshire and started with two excellent overs; he bowled Anil in the first and then a maiden at Shiv to leave him with 1 for 7.
His figures were a little spoilt with a no-ball to Prem at the start of his third over that was pulled over fine leg for the only 6 of the match.
A great way to bring up both Prem’s 50 and the team’s 100.
Andy Law added a run a ball ten before being very well caught at point by John James, and Arun chipped in with another ten before being run out by excellent fielding from Callum meant he could not take the strike off Shiv.
Shiv did well to anchor the end of the innings with a score of 21 – even if he was lucky that when hit on the leg by a straight one, there was no appeal.
Hampshire bowled very well at the end, conceding only 23 runs from the last six overs as the Devils reached 165 for 6 with Dave Daniels catching Alan in the last over so that all the team had a bat – even if Nick only faced three balls.
Callum and Matt Greenhough got the home side off to an excellent start with a 55 run partnership in just over seven overs before Matt was bowled by Shiv, who then took a second wicket in his second over as Andy Law took a fine catch to dismiss the only Hampshire total.
Shortly after the first drinks break, Alan trapped Simon LBW to bring Phil Daniels to the wicket. He immediately started scoring at an amazing rate contributing 36 to a partnership of 51.
He had hit seven boundaries before he was caught by Prem at deep square leg in Hasmukh’s first over when Callum retired, having reached his fifty from forty-two balls with his eighth boundary a fine drive down the ground.
At this point, the Devils were able to slow the scoring rate for a while, but when the home captain fell LBW to Andy, there were just 17 more runs needed from nine overs, and victory seemed just a matter of time. Three overs were needed before John James steered the winning two runs through point.
This leaves the Devils with two games this season – at home to Berkshire and away at Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, next Saturday sees all four BCEW David Townley T20 matches with Metro way at Northants.
Match report by Paul Toplis
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