Devine the inspiration as US beat Gosport

Mark Toogood batting for United Services against Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing
Mark Toogood batting for United Services against Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Eamon Devine kept his nerve to steer United Services to a dramatic last ball Hampshire League division one win over Gosport Borough at Burnaby Road.

Devine arrived at the crease with his side still requiring 10 runs from the final two overs, with nine wickets down.

In a tense finale Devine, helped by veteran Fraser Quirke, managed to get Services over the finishing line at the end of a cracking contest.

With the two teams tied on 226 runs, Devine hit the final ball of the game into the covers and scampered down the wicket for the winning run.

‘It was pretty nervewracking,’ said Services captain Matt Easton.

‘In the end some aggressive running from our final two batsmen got us the win.

‘They kept their nerve and it was brilliant.

‘It was a great win for us and just what we needed after losing for the first time at Ventnor last weekend.

‘To be the first team to beat league leaders Gosport is a big feather in our cap.

‘Before this game, Gosport had only dropped one point all season.

‘We showed a lot of character, though at times we made it difficult for ourselves.’

The visitors batted first after winning the toss but soon found themselves in trouble at 99 for five in the 35th over, with Quirke causing them early problems.

The 47 year old turned up late but soon made up for it with an excellent spell of first-change bowling.

Quirke took three wickets after frustrating the batsmen with an accurate spell, forcing them to be too ambitious with their shots.

But with Borough struggling, Services let them off the hook allowing the visitors to make a late fightback.

‘To their credit Borough came back at us scoring 127 off the last 14 overs,’ said Easton.

In the end, they finished on 226 for six from their 50 overs.

‘We were slightly disappointed with their final total but we knew that if we batted the 50 overs it would be close.’

That looked little problem for Services as Mark Toogood (87) and Tom May (72) took charge with an opening partnership of 156 runs.

Services were cruising when suddenly it all started to go wrong, with Borough grabbing a succession of wickets.

‘We had allowed the run-rate to drop and started losing wickets when we tried to accelerate,’ said Easton.

‘Fortunately we managed to scramble home.

‘With three wins out of four we have made the start we wanted to life in Hampshire one.

‘We have given ourselves a great platform to build on for the rest of the summer.

‘There is a winning mentality in the side and we must look to maintain this.

‘This game showed that when games are tight, we possess the character and spirit to come out on top.