Gosport pay price after rain saves day

Craig Stares top scored for Gosport Borough with 37. Picture: Paul Jacobs (141402-1)
Craig Stares top scored for Gosport Borough with 37. Picture: Paul Jacobs (141402-1)
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The wind and rain proved a mixed blessing for Gosport Borough after they made a brave attempt to stage their Hampshire League division one opener against Ventnor II.

The early evening downpours saved Borough from almost certain defeat after they had posted just 137 with the bat.

But the violent winds caused expensive damage to their sightscreens.

‘The wind took the one sightscreen over against the tree behind and bent it like straw,’ said chairman Joy Godbold.

‘We even had our massive pitch roller in front to hold it in place but all the individual slats were either bent in half or completely snapped.

‘I was just pleased there was no-one walking behind it when it went over.

‘We are now talking somewhere in the region of £700 for replacements.’

Borough stalwart Tony Stares, now umpiring, described the conditions as the worst he had experienced at Privett Park.

‘In my 38 years of playing cricket here I have never known it so windy,’ he said.

‘It is only the second time I have seen a sightscreen blown over.

‘We made a terrific effort to get the game on and the wicket was fine.

‘It was the outfield that caused the problems.’

The two teams agreed to delay the start for an hour in order to give the outfield time to dry.

When the game eventually started Borough were put into bat and made the worst possible start.

Opening batsman Lee Harrop found himself back in the pavilion after edging a catch to the slips in the first over.

Newly-arrived Kiwi batsman Shaun McCarthy and Michael Jenkins staged a good recovery, taking Borough to 40 for one.

McCarthy (19) and Jenkins (12) then fell in quick succession leaving Borough with another rebuilding job to do.

Middle-order batsmen Craig Stares (37) and Greg Kitchin (24) didn’t disappoint, putting on 70 runs for the fourth wicket.

All their hard work was undone, however, when Borough lost their last five wickets for a meagre six runs.

The disastrous late collapse left Ventnor looking favourites to win chasing a target of 137 runs.

The islanders looked well on their way to victory when they reached 53 for two off 13 overs before the rains returned to save Borough.

‘At six o’clock the rain was torrential and it soaked the outfield making it impossible to restart,’ said Stares.

Borough, who finished fourth last season, are setting their sights on another top-four spot.

Despite losing the first game to the weather they hope to maintain the momentum of last season when they won their final eight fixtures.

The arrival of opening batter McCarthy from Hamilton Old Boys is expected to bolster their top order.

He scored more than 600 runs for his side in the season just finished, ending second in their league’s batting averages.