Havant stroll to maiden win as Ventnor pay price

Ben Walker, left, and Pete Hopson gave Ventnor a batting lesson
Ben Walker, left, and Pete Hopson gave Ventnor a batting lesson
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Ventnor were accused of ‘crazy cricket’ after Havant finally got their Southern Electric Premier League campaign up and running with a victory.

The reigning premier division champions had started their defence with two defeats.

But they eased to a seven-wicket success over the Islanders with a straightforward run-chase to reach their target of just 186.

Havant had no complaints at strolling to such a modest target with 10 overs to spare.

But they were left scratching their head at Ventnor’s conservative approach, only losing their fourth wicket off the final ball of their innings.

Havant manager Geoff Owen said: ‘It was a very strange game.

‘They never once put fielders under pressure by trying to run twos and they didn’t play too many shots in anger.

‘They seemed to treat it with the utmost respect.

‘We bowled well but I would have thought you might as well be 240 for nine.

‘They went ever so slowly but there wasn’t even any real urgency in the last 10 overs.

‘I have no idea why they played like that. It’s crazy cricket to finish with a score like that. Nobody could work it out.’

Ventnor were presumably wary of being skittled against a Havant side who were keen to make up for their slow start to the season.

But it was hard to see the strategy even after the early loss of opener Ben Woodhouse for just one run – bowled by Jez Ord.

Adam Hose (76) and Chris Ridley (51) then put on 126 for the second wicket.

However, it was at such a slow rate that the Islanders left themselves no time for a late flurry.

Skipper Ian Hilsum, who was run out off the final ball of the innings, said: ‘To be fair to Havant, they bowled well at the start and throughout.

‘We couldn’t really get going and then we lost a couple of guys who were in, just at the time we were trying to accelerate.

‘We were probably 30-40 runs short of where we should have been.

‘I don’t think it’s down to mentality.

‘If we’d shown a bit more intent in the first 10 or 15 overs, we would have got 220 and it would have been a different game.

‘They didn’t allow us to do it because Walker and Ord bowled very well at the start and they then had three good spinners to bring on.

‘They were right on us for the first 10 overs, we didn’t get away and we didn’t score quickly enough.

‘The guys who were in worked hard but Havant are very good at restricting scoring. They are very well-drilled and we were a bit slow.’

In reply, Ben Walker (59) and Pete Hopson (40) gave Havant an opening partnership of 104 and it was plain sailing from that point with Stuart Ransley (38) chipping in to complete the win.

Owen said: ‘It was an encouraging win and a few batsmen are playing themselves into a bit of form now.

‘I think it’s going to be a seriously good league this year because so many sides will beat each other and that’s only good.’