July 17, 2003

MCC groundstaff Shirazi back for league leaders

BAT Sports are boosted by the return of left-hand opener Damian Shirazi as they bid to extend their sizeable lead at the top of the ECB Southern Electric Premier League against Andover at Southern Gardens tomorrow SAT, 11.30am.

Sharizi, who has been on trial with Kent 2nd XI this week, was on Lord's groundstaff duty at last Saturday's NatWest 1-day final and missed the nine-wicket drubbing of Portsmouth.

But the 407-run teenager kept his eye in by scoring 109 for the MCC YCs against the Army on Monday.

He will resume his opening partnership with hard-hitting Kiwi Neal Parlane, who has 531 runs to his credit this season.

BAT are 37 points clear of second-placed Havant, who face an awkward test against the rejuvinated Hampshire Academy in BBC Radio Solent's feature match at Havant Park.

Steve Snell returns for Havant, while off-spinning all-rounder Richard Hindley, who made his County Championship debut for Hampshire this week, will miss his return to his recreational role after having his right hand broken by a Michael Kasprowicz delivery on Thursday as he struck a debut 50 for the county.

Bashley (Rydal) have an ideal opportunity to step up the pressure at the top when they visit lowly Liphook & Ripsley at Ripsley Park.

The all-day game means a breakfast-time leave for Matt King's side, but confidence is high that Bashley could return home in second place.

"Obviously, we've got to win, but Havant - now only four points ahead of us - have a difficult game against the Academy and might find it tricky forcing a result," said Bashley skipper Matt King.

Chris Sketchley, absent from last week's six-wicket win over Havant, returns at Liphook, where King looks to increase his season's impressive 31-wicket haul.

The Bashley captain is currently eight in front of BAT's Dan Goldstraw in the quest to become the SPL's top wicket taker.

Bournemouth will also fancy their chances of improving their current 15 points per match average against Portsmouth, who have completely lost their way in recent weeks.

Lee Savident, who spent a short while at Chapel Gate, has lost a host of key players through injury and unavailability, including locally-based Naqeeb Ali Mohammed, who is out for the rest of the season with knee trouble.

Portsmouth call up Wayne Lockey from the 2nd XI, who have a potential Hampshire League title decider on their hands at Tichborne Park.

David Kidner and Richard Scott play in the 2nd XI, both probably as batsmen, but there is no place for teenager James Kennedy, who hit a crucial 17 not out in last week's thrilling two-wicket win at Sarisbury Athletic.

Paul Cass, absent from the 138-run drubbing by the Young Hawks at the Rose Bowl last week, returns for Calmore Sports against off-colour South Wilts at Loperwood Park.

South Wilts give talented 16-year old all-rounder James Hayward his Premier League debut. "He will bat and six and certainly bowl his left-arm spin," confirmed injured skipper Rob Wade.