ALEX SHEPHARD toasted his first century in more than two years and then insisted Waterlooville have all the tools at their disposal for a Southern Electric Premier League promotion charge.
The Ville batsman hogged the headlines last weekend as his excellent 116 against Havant II secured a fifth successive victory in division three for the Rowlands Avenue outfit.
That continued Waterlooville’s 100-per-cent record this term, as they share top spot with fellow pace-setters Trojans.
And Shephard, whose side will look to make it six from six at St Cross Symondians tomorrow (1pm), was relieved to be back among the runs.
He said: ‘To be fair, it’s been due. I hadn’t scored a century for two years since I was on tour in Torquay.
‘I’ve had a few fifties in between but then given it away.
‘It was nice to just knuckle down and bat for a long time.
‘It was tough at the beginning – I came in when we were 10 for two and had lost two early wickets.
‘The opening bowler for them, Pete Hayward, was bowling really well and was quite tough to get away.
‘I had to be patient and it took 17 balls for me to get off the mark.
‘But then when the spinners came on it started to free up a little bit and me and the Australian, Sam Williams, put on 150-odd for the third-wicket partnership.
‘When he got out, myself and Huddo (Jon Hudson) continued the momentum and put on a further 103 runs from 12 overs. It was nice to have good partnerships and put away the bad balls.
‘It was one of those days where you had to stick in there and then it gets easier and easier.’
Shephard believes Ville’s versatile side have flourished under the leadership of new skipper Max Goddard.
And confidence is understandably high heading into tomorrow’s clash at St Cross as the visitors bid to continue their winning momentum.
Shephard said: ‘We are confident for tomorrow’s game at St Cross – it will be tough against their twos but the momentum is with us at the moment.
‘We are five from five and we play as a team, so promotion is a possibility – but we know there are a number of other good sides in this league.
‘Max Goddard has taken over as the new skipper with fresh ideas and the lads are really pulling together well.
‘We are a young side, with only Andy Reynolds – the old stalwart behind the stumps – in the older age bracket!
‘All the other lads are in their twenties or younger, with all-rounder Archie Reynolds – Andy’s son – only 15.
‘We can all field and Max has got seven or eight bowling options as well, with Sam Hillman and Danny Durant leading the way with the ball. As a batting line-up, we bat all the way down and although we don’t want to rely on other people, we know we can go out there and be positive.’
Positive will be the Ville mindset heading into Sunday’s twenty20 clash at division one Calmore (3pm) as well.
Shephard added: ‘Last season as big underdogs we played Liphook, who are the same league as Calmore, and we beat them.
‘It’s quite good fun playing in coloured kit and with the orange ball.
‘We know we can field well and if we play to our best we are not going to go there with any great fear.’