South Wilts 2nd XI were able to produce a fine all round display on Saturday against lowly Hambledon, routing the visitors to the bottom of the table with a 64 run victory.
Having won yet another toss, South Wilts were happy to bat first and it was opener Owain Phillips who showed the way. Arguably the most vital moment in the day was to come in the first over when he was to be dropped on 0, but from then on, he looked in excellent form. Henry Smith was to fall cheaply, but Tom Berzins was to ably support Phillips, putting on 86 for the 2nd wicket. When Berzins somewhat surprisingly was to fall for 31, Phillips quickly followed, losing his balance and unfortunately stumped for a fine 72. As ever 2 quick wickets always changes the scoreboard and when Pittman was to follow, 118-1 had turned to 132-4. A strange incident prior to Pittman’s demise, saw Jo Cranch dismissed for hitting the ball twice whilst defending his stumps, but after a long delay the umpires overturned their decision thanks to a law book making it onto the pitch!
A small partnership between Cranch and Pearce steadied the ship but when Sam Pittman came in, it was his hard hitting and Cranch’s clean striking that pushed the innings forward. With both making 60 and 66 respectively at quicker than a run a ball, it saw the hosts up to 276-7 off 50 overs. George Harding 3-36 the pick of the bowlers.
In reply, Hambledon were to get off to a horrible start. 2 good catches behind from Sam Pittman reduced the visitors to 14-2 and suddenly the chase looked a long way off. Whilst all the middle order batsmen made starts, they were always looking well behind what was required. The spin trio of Pittman, Pearce and on debut Akram Ghauri, brought control and well-earned wickets at key times, but the seamers were also to do themselves much credit on a flat wicket. The returning Tom Bolam 3-50 and Marc Burton 3-51, while Ghauri was to rattle through his 10 overs taking 2-32. Will Bond batted nicely for his 66 but it was all to be in vain especially when he was to be the 8th wicket to fall. With Pittman taking the final wicket on 212, it was to wrap up a comprehensive victory and one that would further boost the morale of the 2nd team.
Next week sees the side with another home game against Paultons and while the 2nd string still find themselves in the bottom 2, things suddenly look a lot more positive and hopeful thanks to some much-improved performances.