Tadley Hobos, who pipped Fair Oak seconds to the County Division 3 title last season, have had to withdraw from the Hampshire League due to a shortage of players. It means County 2 will play with 17 teams throughout the remainder of the season. Clubs without fixtures on the 'Hobos date' should remember that, consequent upon Flamingo pulling out pre-season, there will be a CD3 North club 'free' every Saturday should they wish to arrange a friendly match.
Burley cricketer James Rapson must have felt he's won the lottery to sink Camelot virtually single-handed in a Hampshire League, Regional Division 3 West match at Exbury.
The former Bashley (Rydal) cricketer produced an amazing virtuoso performance, scoring 90 not out and later taking five wickets in six deliveries as Burley seconds beat Camelot by 25 runs.
Rapson arrived at the crease after Burley had lost both openers cheaply and hit a career-best 90 to help his side reach 175-7 (Jim Burry 44).
A Chris Hewlings half-century looked as though it might swung the match Camelot’s way, but Rapson (6-32), coming on as third change, took five wickets in six balls, including a hat-trick, to dismiss them for 150.
Aussie Matt Rogers took his United Services run tally to a staggering 333 in two knocks when he smashed the Totton & Eling seconds attack for a monster 179 at Burnaby Road.
The 19-year old from the Australian Capital Territory, pictured, had previously scored 154 in the opening County Division 1 game at Andover.
US captain Matt Easton described it as a “batting master-class” - without pointing out that Totton are in total rebuild and paraded a whole host of inexperienced young players in their side.
US piled up 329-4 (Gary Hounsome 65 not out) and then dismissed the Eels for 100, having been 49-7 at one stage.
It was the second week running they had conceded 300-plus runs, Ropley’s batsmen having feasted themselves on day one.
Newly promoted as CD2 champions last season, US are among seven teams to have both their opening games.
Andover II and Bishops Waltham, elevated with them, have lost both of theirs.
In contrast to 2015 when they were relegated with only three Premier Division 3 wins, Alton seconds are ‘two out of two’ after a seven-wicket success against Ropley, who clearly ran into a better standard of bowling at the Jubilee Ground.
Lee Partner celebrated a second consecutive five-wicket haul, taking 5-25 as Ropley were bundled out for 100.
Four-wicket returns by Jamie Mitchell (4-25) and Marcus Jenkins (4-41) routed Andover II for 106 and set Shrewton up for a thumping eight-wicket win.
Shrewton knocked off the runs in the 17th over, with Will Sleeman hitting an unbeaten 56.
Aaron Dean was the star of the show for Purbrook, who trimmed OTs & Romsey by 27 runs at The Heath.
He hit an unbeaten 53 and with skipper Martin Lee (44) pulled Purbrook from 132-6 to 229-6.
Then, when Richard Lake (51) and Ian Woodhall (48) had rebooted OT’s reply, produced figures of 6-23 to win the match.
Hook & Newnham Basics captain Kevin Light scored 94 for the second consecutive week – each time against sides from Fareham’s western wards.
Fresh from almost getting a ton against Burridge II, Light enjoyed hefty partnerships with Joe Allnutt (51) and Harry Warner (59) as Hook posted a formidable 323-6 (Will Gee 43).
Sarisbury Athletic II made 155 (Colin Day 36), with Ben Allnutt and Kishore Parmar taking three wickets apiece.
Evergreen Steve Clement (74 not out) led the way with Matt Smith (59) as Portsmouth & Southsea chased down a Burridge total of 203-8 (Bevis 42).
St Cross Symondians III, who are normally struggling at the wrong end of the CD1 table, owed much to Kelvin Lockwood (31) and Simon Fairbrother (26) for easing them from 87-7 to 149 all out against Bishops Waltham.
Dan Wheeler (3-19) and Richard Dadd (3-21) took the bowling credits for Bishops, who ruefully reflected on the 28 wides they had to re-bowl when they dismissed for 138 themselves.
A remarkable mid-innings turnaround dramatically swung Ventnor II’s match with Fareham & Crofton at Steephill.
Despite the efforts of South African Pierre Kriel (21) and 16-year old John Buckman (28), Ventnor were in some strife at 104-7.
But in-form Martin Blackman (87) and teenager Harry Ridley (49) shared an eighth-wicket stand of 140 to steer Ventnor to a competitive 248-8.
Fareham lost early wickets to another youngster Ben Attrill (3-43), but through a half-century by Virat Sahu (51) and an unbeaten 69 from ex-Barton Peveril student Ben White (who earlier took 3-29), managed to push it close at 232-6.
New Milton beat Fareham the previous week, but were hit for 225-9 (Jim Edwards 70) and then bowled out for 143 by Ellingham.
It was a mixed start for the five new sides into Hampshire League County Division 1 cricket.
Alton II, emphatically relegated from Southern Premier League Division 3 alongside Totton & Eling seconds last term, won.
But the Eels, along with promoted pair Andover II and Bishops Waltham, were all heavily beaten.
Andover and Totton were on the receiving end of some serious run punishment, writes Mike Vimpany.
Bishops Waltham captain Dan Wheeler admitted his side – not unlike many others on the circuit - were “undercooked” for their CD1 bow with Alton at the Albany Ground.
“We had only had one pre-season game and went into the Alton game massively undercooked,” he said.
Early strikes by Stephen Ball (3-8) and subsequent middle-order inroads created by Lee Painter (5-32) left BW (36-6 at one stage) trying to defend 109 (Andy Wakely 33) – a target Alton polished off for the loss of three wickets.
Openers Andy Postles (31) and Ryan Hale (20) put on 43, after which Richard Anthony (29) completed the formalities.
It’s got the look of a long hard season for Totton & Eling, who have begun a sizeable rebuilding operation after the latest player exodus from Southern Gardens.
At least Totton understand their situation and know they’ll take a pasting or two before they find their level and some of the emerging junior Eels come through.
Ropley, who struggled for much of last season, put 302-8 on the electronic Southern Gardens scoreboard – but not one of their batsmen scored a fifty !
Clearly none of them knew of Simon Preston’s favourable bar prices …
Instead, it was left to Charterhouse schoolboy Jamie Hawkings, pictured, to take the plaudits with a 5-8 return, which accounted for three top order bats and two in the tail. Totton made 82.
Andover also found themselves on the receiving end of a 300-run battering, with Matt Rogers cracking a mighty 154 for United Services and enjoying a 155-run stand with Tom May (66).
Rogers, a 19-year old from the Tuggeranong Valley club in the Australian Capital Territory, played a handful of games for US last summer, but is here for the whole season.
Max Romer-Lee, coached by former Hampshire all-rounder Jon Ayling at Dauntseys, top scored with 69 for Andover (230) and was promoted for today’s SPL match with Bournemouth.
Steve Berryman, pictured, hit an unbeaten 108 as St Cross Symondians III made a flying start with a 99-run win at Ellingham.
His century underpinned a powerful St Cross total of 261, which the New Forest club (162) was unable to match.
Purbrook, comfortable 138-run winners at Sarisbury Athletic II, have signed Christchurch-based New Zealander Benny Michel as their overseas player.
He played Gloucestershire League Division 3 cricket for Stroud-based King’s Langley last summer, scoring over 450 runs and finishing lead bowler with 32 poles.
Michel (58) hit a debut half-century and joined John Moller (49) and Clark Harding (49) in the run making stakes as Purbrook, one of the fancied CD1 teams this term, posted a healthy 285-9 – far too many for Sarisbury, who managed 147 all out.
Nathan Snelling (4-43) and Aaron Dean (3-21) did the damage for Purbrook, who had SA 85-7 at one stage.
Shrewton beat OTs & Romsey II by 24 runs win at OTs & Romsey II, with Sam Gillott (69) and Dan Bingley (57) sharing a century stand.
But they slipped from 137-2 to 181-8 and were in danger of posting a sub-200 total until Dan Pownall (29) and Paul Clancy (11) combined well to take the score to 226.
Dan Pownall (4-37) and Marcus Jenkins (2-21) were too much for the OTR top order as OTs, but Ian Woodhall (73) led a recovery from 58-5.
At 170-6, OTR were back in it, but Shrews regrouped and bowled their hosts out for 202.
Burridge, with 242-9, made a decent fist of trying to chase down Hook & Newnham Basics’ 254-4, of which one-time Fareham & Crofton skipper Kevin Light made 94 and Ben Alnutt a key 43.
Teenager Jonathan Green (70) and Ian Hardcastle (50) made runs for Burridge.
Fareham and Ventnor II look as though they might struggle this season.
With any overseas aid, Fareham lost a low scoring affair by thee wickets to New Milton II at Bath Lane.
Only Ben Kissane (35) and opener Tom Kent (25) made their mark for F & C, whose modest 128 seemed likely to test the Green & Golds when Ben White (3-33) got amongst their top order.
Fresh from a three-wicket stint with the ball, Ryan Beck (43) and former Parley teen Oli Shrubsole (24) pulled New Milton round, but work was still to be done when eighth-wicket pair Joe Hall and Dave Crossley came together to secure the victory.
Kissane took a youthful Fareham side to Steephill today to face a Ventnor side well beaten by seven wickets by Portsmouth & Southsea at St James’s Park.
Left-arm spinner Keiron Dunstan took 5-29 as Ventnor were whisked out for 117.
Alongside Shrewton, Purbrook are being touted as potential Hampshire League, County Division 1 winners this season and they’ll have an international flavour about them with the addition of two Afghans and a New Zealander to their side to visit Sarisbury Athletic II at Allotment Road, writes Kevin Ricketts.
Captain Martin Lee recruited Hamid Khan and Sameen Mahboob from disbanded Peartree, and 19 year old left-arm spinner Ben Michell, from New Zealand, who played in the Gloucestershire League last season. All-rounder Brad Mengham has also returned to the club after a short spell at Waterlooville.
'There are a few new faces around the place and have lost a couple of the old stagers,' said Purbrook captain Martin Lee.
Purbrook : Martin Lee, Sean Figgins, Brad Mengham, Nathan Snelling, Aaron Dean, Clark Harding, Ben Michell, Hamid Khan, Sameen Mahboob, John Moller, Dave Cleeve.
Shrewton, who were in the title mix for most of last summer before fading away, visit OTs & Romsey, one of ten SPL second teams in the Hampshire League.
Bishops Waltham captain Dan Wheeler is adamant that his team are ready for their first-ever season in Hampshire One cricket.
They make their County Division one debut against Alton II at Albany Road determined to build on their success of the last couple of seasons.
Alton were relegated from the Southern Electric League last season so are expected to provide a stern opening test.
Wheeler however is confident his side can consolidate their position in the higher league.
'Stepping up will be a big challenge for everybody in the team but the feeling in the camp is that we are up for it,' said Wheeler.
'We know that it will be more difficult but we are ready to take it on.
'Last season we scored over 300 runs on four or five occasions and dominated games. We know it won't be so easy to do that this time around.
“Now we find ourselves in 50 over matches instead of 45 and also have to contend with fielding restrictions. Making the adjustments tactically will be a massive challenge and it is a step up for all of us.
'I have every confidence that we will be able to adapt and maintaining consistency will be the key.
'Our aim must be to consolidate our position at this level and must aim for at least a mid-table finish.'
Once again Bishops Waltham are using their links with Hong Kong cricket to boost their squad with an overseas recruit.
Top order batsman and leg spin bowler Sony Bhimsaria is expected to arrive in the country in time for Waltham's third game of the season.
Bhimsaria is currently with the Hong Kong under 19's squad trying to break through into the seniors.
Wheeler expects the new recruit to make last seasons top order batting even stronger joining prolific run-scoring opening pair Phil Baldock and Harry McGhee.
'There is good continuity from last year when we earned promotion through a good consistent team effort,' said Wheeler.
'We know that stepping up we will need someone each week to produce a match-winning performance either with the bat or ball.'
Wheeler believes the best is still to come from a couple of his players.
He hopes to have vice-captain and wicketkeeper Gareth Lovell available for most of the season and regular cricket will see him return to his previous best.
Andy Wakeley didn't have the greatest time with the ball last season after topping the County Division Three bowling averages the previous year.
Wakeley is keen to bounce back and prove a point and add to an attack that saw Wheeler take 31 wickets last season. Twenty one year old Sam Medhurst will have benefited from playing cricket in New Zealand during the winter.
Robbie Pitts-Mellan has also returned to the club after spending a couple of seasons with Alton II.
Bishops Waltham : Mark Boriani, Andy Wakeley, Dom Quincy, Gareth Lovett, Harry Barrett, Sam Medhurst, James Redding, James Mitchell, Phil Dalton, Richard Dadd, Dan Wheeler, Robbie Pitt-Mellan.
United Services captain Matt Easton is relishing the challenge as his team make their return to County Division One cricket at newly promoted Andover II.
Services have bounced straight back up into the senior division after being relegated the previous year. Easton feels his team are better equipped this time around after the success of last season.
'We want to make sure we hit the ground running and carry on where we left off last season,' said Easton.
"I am looking for us to achieve a top half finish and if we keep playing positive cricket must have a good chance of doing so. The priority, however, is to consolidate and make sure we remain at this level.'
Easton is pleased to have top order batsman Mark Toogood available on a more regular basis. He is also hoping to attract a few talented local students who have expressed an interest in joining.
Kieron Dunstan is optimistic his Portsmouth & Southsea team – who entertain a potentially weak Ventnor II - can launch a bid for the title this season.
The team has been together for four or five years and Dunstan hopes that consistency can finally pay off.
'It is time we did the business,' said Dunstan. 'We finished well at the back end of last season when we dominated our opponents.
Dunstan is looking forward to returning to action after missing the second half of last season with a damaged shoulder.
Portsmouth & S : Matt Smith, Steve Clements, Jack Davies, Matt Benfield, Tom Benfield, Dan Fry-Sperring, Ben Saunders, Matt Williams, Chris Turrell, Jon Willey, Kieran Dunstan.
Fareham & Crofton bring the curtain up on their season with a home game against New Milton II at Bath Lane. Luke Gould is a doubt after injuring his shoulder playing hockey
The demise of local cricket clubs across the breadth of the country is all too common place these days, but news that Flamingos have folded on the eve of the Hampshire League season is particularly sad.
The club, which boasts one of the most beautiful grounds around, was due to have played its opening County Division 3 North match against Hursley Park seconds on Saturday.
But such has been the gradual and now serious decline in playing numbers, the club no longer has the resources to fill a side each Saturday.
Flamingos withdrawal from the Hampshire League cricket had been on the cards for a while.
“It was a very difficult and sad decision to wind the club up and withdraw from the HCL before a ball has even been bowled,” said skipper Chris Todd.
“It’s a day that many people involved in the club’s 57-year history never wanted to happen, but we can assure everyone it has not been for the want of trying, both on and off the field, to keep the club going.”
The club’s remote location from a substantial population base – apart from Bishops Waltham (who to their credit are flourishing and making excellent progress) meant that attracting new players was always a problem.
The supply now seems to have run out and sadly, the reality has to be faced. Numerous current players in the Southern Premier League, who grew up at Flamingos before moving on to other pastures, will find the news very sad.
Flamingo’s departure, as one of the higher profile local clubs to fold, will be met with equal sadness among the Hampshire Cricket League’s hierarchy.
The late Stan Brambley, who manually handled the league’s results for more years than anyone might care to remember, founded the club in the late 1950s.
Their lovely tree-girt ground at The Holt, set in the Preshaw Estate on top of Corhampton’s rolling downs, is often patrolled by buzzards or, sometimes, red kites.
Flamingos idyllic ground really is English cricket to a tee.
Birds twittering away high up in the branches are interrupted only by the thwack of leather on willow echoing around the ground.
In Stan’s days there was no running water at the ground – he used to cart supplies up there in his car boot – but 20 or so years ago, the club (with the aid of lottery funding) came up with a unique plan and sank a bore hole into the chalk streams beneath Corhampton Down so that showers could be provided for the players and water put in the kitchen.
The ambitious project was to coincide with Flamingo’s best spell on the field, the club winning the Hampshire League championship in 2000 and playing in the Southern Premier League for the next three seasons.
“We punched above our weight for quite a period of time, winning County 1, and the Tichborne Trophy, besides our seconds getting promoted,” said Stuart Shapland, who was captain at the time.
“It was a remarkable achievement for such a small club.”
Flamingos attracted some ‘name’ players too : Saints defender Jason Dodd, a very fine club cricketer, turned out regularly.
Stephen Cook, who hit a century on debut for South Africa against England this winter, played at The Holt as a 16-year old schoolboy while his father, Jimmy was Hampshire coach.
Although Flamingos have withdrawn from the Hampshire League, they are still committed to providing playing facilities at the Holt for the upcoming season for both Mansbridge (who play in County Division 4 North) and The Milbury’s, who play friendly Sunday matches at the ground.
The cricket fraternity will want to see the game continue to be played at The Holt for many years to come …
THE Hampshire League cricket club using Bournemouth's historic Dean Park ground has announced it will not play there this season due to rising costs.
Parley have been in talks with landowner Park School about leasing the site for County Division 3 (South) and Dorset Premier League matches, in exchange for the club carrying out ongoing maintenance on the pitch and redeveloping the Grade II listed pavilion.
However, chairman Graham Stickland said the independent school's decision to lease the pavilion to a nursery, as well as concern over future charges, had forced the club to back out of the negotiations.
"I think cricket will stop there forthwith," he said.
"We are disappointed, for Bournemouth and for local cricket, but Park School own it and have their plans and what more can one say."
He said that with the nursery in situ the ground would be unavailable for cricket during the week for safety reasons, and as such the club would find it impossible to obtain grant support from the England Cricket Board or Heritage Lottery Fund, or other potential investors.
"No benefactor is going to put money into a facility a private school benefits from which the community is only using at the weekend," he said.
The ground, which has been used for cricket since 1869, was bought by Park School from Cooper Dean Estates in 2014 and is run as Dean Park Cricket Ltd.
Years ago, it was the home of the traditional Bournemouth Cricket Festival – Hampshire winning their first County Championship title there in 1961.
Although the school ultimately offered the club the use of the ground rent free, Mr Stickland said the club feared future costs would be introduced.
In a statement, the directors of Dean Park Cricket Ltd said the site was "too expensive to maintain and run" to operate solely for cricket.
They said: "Since purchasing the site in December 2014 the new owners of Dean Park have worked to ensure that cricket is played there each summer.
"Last season Dorset Minor County used the facility. We had hoped that Parley Cricket Club, together with others, would use it this season and in future. However, despite being offered the cricket ground rent-free, they have made the decision not to use it.
"When we bought Dean Park our hopes were to preserve the site and to give Park School a large area of grass and pitches where pupils can play sport.
Bishops Waltham have reached the upper echelons of Hampshire League cricket following last season’s promotion from County Division 1 – and Saturday promises to be a landmark occasion in the club’s history.
They make their County 1 bow at Albany Road, against an Alton second team relegated from the Southern Premier League last August, writes Mike Vimpany.
Bishop’s won 12 of their 16 matches last summer and, after the flying start they made, were favourites for the CD2 title at the midway point.
But, having fought a battle royale with eventual champions United Services and Petersfield, they eventually finished 14 points off the silverware.
Optimism is high in the Bishops Waltham camp that Dan Wheeler’s side will equip themselves well in their new surroundings – County 1 being proliferated by ten 2nd XI sides of Premier League clubs.
Phil Baldock, with 737 runs, will be there again this season, as will Wheeler himself, having taken 31 wickets in last season’s promotion campaign.
Bishop’s will be strengthened by at least four new arrivals, two of them having returned to the club.
All-rounder James Redding was at BW while studying at Portsmouth University and returns to the fold after a spell with Northamptonshire club East Haddon.
Ironically, spinner Robbie Pitts-Mellan was with Alton II last season, but with A-levels looming at Peter Symonds College, will play locally.
The arrival of Haider Khan will shortly be complemented by the arrival, from Hong Kong, of 22-year old leg-spin all-rounder Sunny Bhimsaria, who has represented his country at Under-19 level.
The club has introduced a fourth team in Regional 4 South East - to be used mainly as a development squad offering league cricket to colts and colts to step up from under-15 and school cricket.
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