Challenge laid down to Ville’s nearly men

Sam Hillman clean bowls Alf Mengham of Purbrook. Picture: Mick Young

Sam Hillman clean bowls Alf Mengham of Purbrook. Picture: Mick Young

Kyle Abbott played a strong innings alongside George Bailey. Picture: Neil Marshall

Bailey leads Hampshire fightback

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Waterlooville captain Jon Hudson is hoping it will be third time lucky as his side set their sights on promotion from division one.

Ville have narrowly missed out in the past two seasons – finishing fourth and third – but Hudson believes his side are ready this time around.

Losing their first two games to the weather means Ville start their campaign with a tricky visit to Alton II tomorrow.

‘We have come up just short the last two years,’ said Hudson.

‘On both occasions we were just one win short of making it.

‘Both times we were guilty of poor starts and of a couple of silly mid-season defeats.

‘It has been frustrating but we couldn’t want for better motivation.

‘Our squad is still very young, with only one player over the age of 26 and most still in their early 20s.

‘The potential is tremendous but now it is time to go out and prove ourselves.

‘We have to grab the bull by the horns and take the responsibility.

‘Too many excuses have been made in the last few years.’

Hudson is boosted by the return of strike bowler Sam Hillman from university.

The 23-year-old only played half the games last season due to his Manchester University studies but still topped the league’s bowling averages.

And of the 70 overs he bowled, 30 were maidens which is an impressive feat.

Waterlooville’s new overseas player, South African John Grewar, will be another influential figure.

‘Because of the weather he has only played in one friendly but he scored a century in that,’ said Hudson.

‘Primarily he is a batsman but at six foot six inches he can also get it down a bit when bowling.

‘He is used to heavy storms in Durban but it is the cold he is struggling with.

‘He will strengthen our batting, where I think we will be very strong right down to number nine.

‘It is important we hit the ground running at Alton, although they are always there or thereabouts themselves.’

Waterlooville: Alex Sheppard, John Grewar, Jon Hudson, Matt Charman, Andrew Reynolds, Max Goddard, John Burnett, Sam Hillman, Nathan White, Matt Cook, Dan Jones

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