much improved South Wilts second team performance saw them past a resilient Lymington 2nd team on Saturday at Lower Bemerton.
Ollie Kelly called correctly at the toss and chose to have a bat but when he fell with the score at 22, the tidy bowling from the hosts squeezed the visitors into costly mistakes. James Wade was to chip in with a wicket in the final over of his initial spell and with Ben Fisher also getting in on the act, the scoreboard slipped to 62-4.
Dan Cox, who started the 2017 season playing for South Wilts, found himself coming in at a tricky time for the visitors and whilst initially batting very circumspect, he led the fightback. Tom Pearce was to make a further breakthrough and with spin putting a grinding halt to the scoreboard, Rob Pittman made inroads just a couple of overs later to reduce Lymington to 96-6. Cox was joined by Hugo Smith and without the option of the 3rd spinner for Rob Pittman, the pace somewhen had to come back on the ball. This helped both batsmen accumulate and with all 3 seamers not offering the control they might have hoped, the scoreboard was ticking along nicely.
Cox was to pass 50 and while he was dismissed with 5 overs to go for 60, the partnership worth 84 seemed invaluable. The bowling becoming slightly ragged towards the end saw the innings conclude on 208-9. Pittman 1-18 off 10 overs bringing excellent control and Ben Fisher 3-38 chipped in with useful wickets.
In reply South Wilts were to lose Owain Phillips in the 3rd over, but when Cranch joined Berzins at the crease, this was to be arguably the match winning partnership. Cranch was to hit the ball cleanly down the ground, latching on to anything full. While Berzins batted fluently at the other end, punishing anything loose. The partnership of 99 took South Wilts to 104 and when Cranch was caught hitting a short ball straight to mid wicket and Berzins was trapped LBW for 53, just a few overs later, 120-3 gave the visitors just a glimmer of hope.
Young Jack Stearman and Tom Pearce kept the board ticking putting on 35 but when Stearman was caught and Pearce was somewhat needlessly run out, again 2 new batsmen were at the crease at 165-6. Sam Pittman was soon to follow but with Ben Fisher having a good season with the bat, he and Steve kidd both saw the game home making 20 and 16 respectively, winning with 3 overs spare. Josh Royan 2-47 and Olly Kelly 2-37 the pick of the bowlers.
Next week sees the second string go to Hambledon who have started the season well. However, if South wilts can find a level of consistency they will know they have what it takes to get a result.