Hampshire Academy v Bashley (Rydal) CC
A Southern League record partnership of 96 for the tenth wicket between James Manning and Giles White was sadly in vain for the young Hawks as they failed to capitalize by holding onto their catches; letting an unnerved Bashley off the hook.
For the first time this season the Academy lost the toss and Bashley captain Matt King had no hesitation in inserting Hampshire on a pitch that looked greener than usual thanks perhaps to rain on the previous day.
A mixture of poor shot selection and good accurate bowling saw the Academy sink to 26-4 early on. A battling 14 from Kevin Latouf showed the necessary application, but when his resistance ended at 44-5 a procession ensued. 56-7 was a sorry state of affairs, but Matt Metcalfe hit 20 in 22 balls (3 fours) to ensure the relative respectability of 83-9.
Academy captain Giles White (68 not out in 84 balls, 12 fours) joined young seam bowler James Manning in a stand which not only took Hampshire to lunch but almost an hour beyond. Manning (25 in 91 balls, 1 four) batted sensibly while his senior partner blazed away at the other end with some quality strokes before the former was bowled by Hampshire 2nd XI old boy Chris Sketchley. Opening bowler John Whiting bowled admirably to return figures of 5-68, well supported by his opening partner Kevin Nash (3-57).
Having been somewhat put onto the back foot, Bashley were soon rocking at 5-2 thanks to the pace of David Griffiths; again bowling a full length. Crucially, eventual match winner Neil Thurgood was put down behind the wicket off the unlucky Matt Metcalfe when on 3; the score would then have been a sorry-looking 11-3.
Wicket-keeper Tom Burrows took a sensational catch to have Bashley 38-4 just before tea. Yet again this interesting match had another twist immediately after tea as a Griffiths over saw Neal (39) almost play on off the first ball after the resumption and Thurgood again dropped behind the wicket, this time on 18. These two Bashley batsmen made the most of their good fortune, putting on a match-winning 79 for the fifth wicket. The writing was on the wall by now as Neil Sexton (37 not out in 39 balls, 6 fours) then joined Thurgood (69 in 167 balls, 2 sixes, 6 fours) in a quick-fire sixth wicket partnership of 65 to steer Bashley home.
Three further half-chances went down during this partnership, leaving the Academy to reflect on what might have been had some of these earlier chances been taken.