Ed Ellis celebrated his 21st birthday in style with a career best 140 in Lymington’s curtain raising ECB Southern Premier Division derby thriller against Bashley (Rydal).
But he finished a desperately unlucky loser as his Lymington side fell ten runs shy of Bashley’s daunting 298-7 – the outcome being in doubt until the start of the final over at the BCG, with the visitors needing 14 more to win.
Ellis, a second year sports coaching and business degree student at Oxford Brookes University, came in at five and took the Bashley attack apart, hitting 21 boundaries in a knock which carried Lymington so close to a remarkable win.
“My previous highest score in the Premier League was 62 against Alton, but I’ve been working hard on my batting all winter at Iffley Road,” he said.
“My mind was on winning the game throughout. If we could take it to the last five overs with wickets in hand, then I knew we'd be close – which we were
“I honestly thought we were going to do it the whole time.”
Incoming Bashley (Rydal) skipper Michael Porter praised for Ellis’s knock, but criticised Bashley’s bowling.
He laughed: “The last hour, when he was going like a train, aged me a few years.
“All credit to Ed. He came in at five and batted superbly - but we bowled too many four-balls, which he put away and which made the game a lot closer than it might have been.”
Porter himself anchored Bashley’s innings with a bright 61, but it was Gavin Bailiff’s run-a-ball 80, which included two sixes and seven fours, which set the innings alight.
Simon Watkins (35), Chris Ridley (38) and a breezy 24 off 14 balls by Andy Neal sent the Bashley total rocketing to 298-7 (Ed Freeman 3-42).
“It was probably the best we’ve structured an innings for some while and 298-7 was a good score on any ground,” Porter reflected.
When Lymington replied, Ben Rogers was an early victim, but Cameron Grierson (39) and Dom Hand (35) slowly but surely built the Lymington response.
Lymington were behind the clock when Ellis emerged, the (now) 21-year old wicket-keeper having previously only made two Premier League fifties, batting down the order.
But his astonishing knock – he scored 140 off 105 balls – came precariously close to getting Lymington across the line.
Porter constantly changed the field in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the onslaught from Ellis, who stands barely 5’6”.
The former Sparsholt youngster eventually fell off the first ball of Bailiff’s final over, in which Lymington lost a cluster of wickets and finished a gallant 288-9, ten runs behind.