Gosport Borough’s gamble to go ahead with their Hampshire League division one encounter against Andover II paid off as Simon Creal’s team secured a three-wicket win to consolidate second place in the league table.
With the majority of the other games in the league washed out, Borough’s positive attitude helped them maintain pressure on league leaders Alton II, who lost their game to the weather.
‘We could quite easily have called the game off but we decided if there was a chance to play we would go for it,’ said Creal.
‘On the Friday we were thwarted in our attempts to get the pitch covered because of a scheduled ladies game which was eventually called off.
‘By then it was too late to protect the ground but the outfield and wicket dries very quickly.
‘We knew if there was no more rain on Saturday morning we had a chance.
‘Fair play to Andover also because they arrived wanting to get on with it and play cricket.
‘In the end we had two heavy showers – one which lasted for 10 minutes during tea and another when we only needed 10 runs to win. Both teams stuck it out and got the game finished, though.’
Creal won the toss, and even though his side have been scoring lots of runs this season, decided under the circumstances to bowl first.
The captain soon justified the decision by taking a catch in the gully off the bowling of Conor Regan to dismiss one of the visitors’ openers with just nine runs on the board.
Borough continued to turn the screw and had five of the Andover batsmen back in the pavilion before the score had reached 50.
Andover staged a brief recovery in the middle order before Regan (three for 22) returned to help mop up the tail and leave Borough chasing a rain-reduced target of 133 runs off 47 overs.
Overseas all-rounder Leeland Zeller also grabbed a couple of wickets for 13 runs but Creal was full of praise for strike-bowler Regan.
‘He was with the Hampshire Academy about five years ago and sometimes because of that he expects too much of himself,’ said Creal.
‘Last season we were chasing him around on the morning of games to see if he would play.
‘This year he is far more focused and is as keen as mustard.
‘He is far more relaxed and just enjoying his cricket with the lads.’
Borough made a solid start in their replay, with an opening-wicket stand of 31 before Mike Rees (11) was dismissed.
When Craig Stares quickly followed without scoring it looked like Borough were going to make hard work of chasing down the moderate target.
That might have been the case but for the arrival of talented Queenslander Zeller (54 not out) at number four, who steadied the ship.
‘He looks a great talent and possesses an awesome temperament for when the going gets tough,’ said Creal.
‘You look to your overseas player to win you a few tight games and he has done that in recent weeks.
‘Playing on a wet English wicket must have been alien to him but, literally, after a couple of balls he worked it all out.
‘He has lots of good shots and his timing was impressive.’
Borough still needed 18 runs to win with seven wickets down and, though Andover brought their opening bowlers back, Zeller despatched them for a couple of boundaries to help guide his side home.