Mark Toogood lived up to his name as he guided United Services to a 10-wicket win over Hook & Newnham Basics II in Hampshire League division one.
In a rain-affected contest at Burnaby Road, the home side bowled the visitors out for 158 before being set a revised target of 106 from 26 overs to win the game.
It could have proved tricky but Toogood (73 not out) and fellow opener Tom May saw the hosts home with a few overs to spare.
The heavy shower which arrived midway through the visitors’ innings, however, almost scuppered Services’ chances of maintaining their winning start to the campaign.
‘When the rain drove us off it was touch and go whether we would be able to get back out there in time,’ said the hosts’ captain Matt Easton.
‘The league rules state that if 78 minutes are lost after the game has started, then the game should be abandoned.
‘We had three of their wickets down for 35 runs when we came off, so were desperately keen to go back out and carry on.
‘In the end we were lucky and got back out on the pitch with about three minutes to spare.
‘Thankfully the worst of the weather missed us after that.’
After winning the toss, Easton put the visitors in and was rewarded by an impressive opening spell from his strike bowlers.
The experienced Fraser Quirke and teenager Josh Collingham pinned the batsmen down.
Easton, Liam Riley and Jack Kinnell also produced tidy spells to further limit Hook’s ambitions.
University of Portsmouth student Huw Jones then helped polish off the innings with four for 27 – signing off in style before heading home for the summer.
‘We felt confident we could chase down four runs an over but needed a good start,’ said Easton.
Toogood provided just that – hitting the first ball to the boundary.
‘It is good to be able to rely on a senior player like Mark at the top of our batting order,’ said Easton.
‘His experience is so useful in situations like this.’
Services were rarely in trouble, although May was dropped when they had 20 runs on the board.
The result gave the Burnaby Road outfit a second consecutive win – just what they wanted after being relegated from the Southern Electric Premier League at the end of last season.
Easton believes his team can kick on from their good start.
‘We weren’t sure how we would fare coming into this season,’ he said.
‘Our early games have shown we can be competitive.
‘Most pleasing is the terrific spirit in the camp with everybody in a positive frame of mind.
‘It is always difficult when a club loses a number of senior players but we are looking forward.’