With a healthy blend of youth and experience Havant trimmed promoted Compton & Chandler’s Ford by 32 runs, Old Basing got home by 12 runs against St Cross Symondians III, and Sway overwhelmed Longparish by nine wickets.
A second wicket stand of 93 between Charlie Whitfield (49) and Stu Ransley (23) eased Havant to 100-1, but led by Andy Gorty’s spell of 3-27 the hosts collapsed to 145-7 before Hampshire 50s aspirant Pete Hayward struck a breezy 28 off 17 balls to lift them to 193 all out.
Gorty, with eight fours in his 44, and Pranoy Rathod (40) took CCF to 141-5, but the tail fell away to 161 all out.
St Cross Symondians’ III play a weather reduced 32-over match and were beaten by 12 runs at promoted Old Basing, who successfully defended 170-9, Nick Willcock (60) top scoring and sharing a n important mid-innings stand with Joe Belcher (31).
OB have Ryan Murray back after spells with the Academy and South Wilts, but he didn’t manage a wicket as Guy Pearson-Gregory celebrated his St Cross debut with an unbeaten 55 as the Winchester visitors made 155-5 in reply.
A composed half century from skipper Tim Noble (pictured) saw Sway home and off to a terrific start in their – the victory over Longparish set up by a good all-round bowling display.
The long-term union of David Steadman (4-12) and Jonathan Waller (1-18) had Longparish in all sorts of bother early on and 21-4 after 15 overs.
Waller had the ball seaming around and Alex Hall took a brilliant catch stood up while Steadman was awesome – his wickets aided by two safe catches by Tom Burton as well as former Kent cricketer Hugh Bernard and Hall.
Change bowlers Jon Grasham (2-27) and Bernard (2-25) injected a lot of pace into the attack and broke through some stubborn resistance from the visitors.
Knowing they had a full 40 overs to get their total and against a sharp and pacey Longparish attack, openers Noble and Hall opted to be circumspect with the opening partnership worth 41.
Oscar Marshall entered the fray and together with Noble they nullified the visitors’ threat and eased home in the 26th over. Noble hit five boundaries and crushed a huge six on his way to an unbeaten 56, while Marshall finished on 20.
Parley are chasing a third successive County 1 title – accreditation issues continue to dog their bid for Southern Premier League status – and have Alex Nippard back after a spell with Bashley (Rydal) and Shane Green wearing the captain’s armband.
Despite their midweek London based Ollie Green and Jack Rowett are hoping to feature, while Tom Saunders, now at university in Cardiff, will add some firepower following the return to his youth roots from Bashley. He made a recent century in the Village Cup.
Evergreen wicketkeeper/batsman Roshan Embalagama is looking in good form, while Shane Green will also give youth their opportunity with at least three Under 17's set for regular appearances.
This column will discuss the prospects of the other clubs once the season gets underway properly.