Hard-hitting Aussie batsman Fraser Hay wasted little time in adjusting to English conditions with a match-winning innings on his debut for Portsmouth.
The 19-year-old from Perth smashed 88 runs in just 60 balls to help newly-promoted Portsmouth to a 55-run win over Totton & Eling in division one of the Southern League at Clarence Parade.
Most of Hay’s runs came in boundaries, with passing cars and the pavilion clock all coming under threat from his towering strikes.
Portsmouth’s captain Rich Locke was impressed and believes Hay will get even better when the pitches harden up a bit more.
‘It was a fantastic knock from our overseas player and some of his clean hitting was unbelievable to watch,’ said Locke.
‘Totton & Eling’s bowlers didn’t know where to bowl to him.
‘He came in at number four and rescued our innings because they had us at 50 for three.
‘He even put a couple of his shots on top of our pavilion.
‘Altogether he hit three sixes and 15 fours.
‘Since coming over here a month ago he has been training with Hampshire’s second team and that showed.’
After winning the toss, the home side lost a couple of early wickets as the ball seamed and moved around early on.
Opener Will Smitherman, who had flown back from Lancaster University to play found himself back in the pavilion without scoring.
Locke joked: ‘His flight back might have been short but it still lasted longer than his innings.’
Locke was trapped lbw for eight soon afterwards and the city club looked in real trouble.
Hay and Inderpal Nandra (25) led the recovery, giving the innings a much-needed surge of momentum at a difficult time.
Though Portsmouth lost Harry Collier and Matt Shaw cheaply, Vikram Dawson (38) and Alex Hammond (35) produced a vital partnership at the end of the innings.
‘We kicked on at the end and got ourselves up to a 243 total which was pleasing,’ said Locke.
In reply, the visitors made a steady start but at no stage could they get on top against a disciplined bowling performance.
The opening bowlers maintained a good line and length and when the spinners were introduced it only increased the pressure on the visitors.
Andrew Marston (two for 29), Nandra (two for 21) and Dawson (two for 29) all bowled well.
Totton & Eling threatened briefly through Tom Rouse but when he was on 38 he fell to a superb catch in the deep by Collier.
After that the visitors fell away, leaving Portsmouth comfortable winners.