Dave Henderson admitted he thought he was the victim of a hoax as his Portsmouth side claimed a vital 90-run win at Langley Manor to ease their division two promotion jitters.
The skipper turned up at Knellers Lane to find an overgrown pitch after the club’s mower had broken down.
It was the last thing that the promotion-chasers needed against the bottom club after two straight defeats.
Henderson said: ‘Their mower had broken so we turned up and they hadn’t cut the wicket since Thursday. I thought it was a wind-up at first.
‘I’m not joking when I say you couldn’t tell the difference between the square and the outfield.
‘It was like playing in my back garden.
‘It was almost funny.
‘The Langley Manor guys were very apologetic and a bit embarrassed but it was all good humoured.
‘Thankfully, we got the win so we can laugh about it. If we’d lost the game, I would have been very grumpy and blaming the pitch!’
Scott Curwood shrugged off the difficult batting deck with a fine 92 to boost his team to an excellent 241, while Vikram Dawson (21) and Pat Burns (32) added important late runs.
Henderson said: ‘We were in massive trouble and then Scott played a sublime, chanceless 92. He does it once a season.
‘We thought 140 would be a winning score.
‘It was seaming around all over the place and was just keeping very low and a few of the guys just though the best policy was to swing the bat and get as many as possible.
‘Scott just played straight. It was a brilliant innings.’
Curwood then continued an impressive all-round display with three for 17 after Dawson and Andy Martson both posted identical figures (two for 27).
In division three, Gosport Borough stormed to a 173-run win over Totton & Eling II.
Blake Maher (61) and Craig Stares (64) steered the team to 286 and Maher then picked up extraordinary bowling figures of five wickets for four runs as Totton were bowled out for 118.