Bond excited by double Dons mission

Hambledon batsman George Marshall
Hambledon batsman George Marshall
Stuart Ransley stepped it up against South Wilts. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant confident league crown will be secured

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Will Bond will give Hambledon a licence to thrill during a big weekend of league and cup cricket at Ridge Meadow.

Bond’s side begin a festival of cricket at home against unbeaten Southern Premier League division two leaders Trojans tomorrow.

Then 24 hours later they entertain Oxfordshire champions Shipton-under-Wychwood in the last 32 of the National Village Cup.

Two big games in such a short space of time is a daunting task but Bond insists his squad are capable of coping with it.

‘It is a huge weekend for everyone at the club,’ said the skipper.

‘Our club have had a good record over the years in the village knockout.

‘We got to the final back in the 1980s.

‘The whole village usually turns out to support the team in these games because it is a unique tournament.

‘We get a lot more people watching than normal and that just adds to the atmosphere of the occasion.

‘There is a bar and a barbecue which helps turn it into a big community affair. It usually makes it a fun place to be.

‘We are only four games away from the final at Lords and would love to get back there again as a club.’

Hambledon have fought their way through the Hampshire rounds by beating Easton & Martyr Worthy, Sparsholt and Tichborne Park. So far they have been impressive form in the tournament but know the Oxfordshire visitors will present a sterner test.

They too have an excellent pedigree in the competition having won it twice at the beginning of the millennium.

The home side, however, are hoping opening batsman George Marshall can continue his impressive from in the competition so far.

He is aiming for a third successive century after his hundreds against Sparsholt and Tichborne Park.

Bond knows he can be a key figure in his side’s bid to progress.

‘George is a special talent and can be very dangerous with his ability to attack from the start,’ he said.

‘He is an important part of our armoury – along with his brother James who is also getting a few runs.

‘Hopefully we can also exploit our home advantage which often proves very important in these games.

‘We have only lost once at home so far this season and then it was a very close run thing.’

Before the cup game, Hambledon aim to topple Trojans in the league.

Ian Turner will replace the unavailable James Atkinson for that game.

But the former Hampshire spinner and overseas all-rounder Shane Nkomo are not eligible for the game on Sunday.

Hambledon (v Trojans): Will Bond, George Marshall, Shane Nkomo, James Marshall, Spencer Leclercq, Indi Chakrabarti, Prad Bains, Ian Turner, Rhidian Chapman, George Harding, Rupert Hetherington

Hambledon (v Shipton-under-Wychwood): Will Bond, George Marshall, James Marshall, Spencer Leclercq, Paul Vickers, Henry Glanfield, Owain Chapman, Prad Bains, Rhidian Chapman, George Harding