Ventnor ready for premier challenge

Ventnor's Mark Fletcher
Ventnor's Mark Fletcher
Sean Ervine is caught by Varun Chopra. Picture: Kevin Shipp

Bowlers put Hampshire in control of Essex clash

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Ventnor secured their return to the Southern Electric Premier League top table and skipper Ian Hilsum insisted his men are ready to make an impact on the top flight.

After relegation last year from the premier division, the Islanders have tasted defeat just once this campaign and picked up the points they needed to mathematically seal the division two title with a 35-run success over relegation-threatened Portsmouth.

Mark Fletcher (41) top scored in a lowly total of 157 for nine on a tricky pitch at St Helens.

But Mark Holmes (three for 20) and Adam Wilson (three for 35) ensured the home side came up well short as they were bowled out for 122.

Hilsum said: ‘It’s been a great effort from everyone and it was another example with the way we dug in to get past 150 on a difficult pitch to bat on.

‘It was a close game but we took some good catches and that was probably the difference.

‘It’s great to have won the title with two games to go.

‘The boys deserve it because we’ve played some really good cricket this year. Luckily we managed to hang on to most of our players from last year even though we were relegated.

‘We’d like to strengthen the side for next year but we have got the nucleus of a good side already.

‘Maybe two or three players coming into the squad will make us that bit stronger.

‘But we’re already looking forward to giving it a good crack next year.

‘I think we will make a better fist of it next year because we’re a bit more used to our new ground.

‘We’ll definitely be ready when next season comes around.’

Despite some serious celebrations, Ventnor capped a memorable weekend with an eight-wicket victory over Ryde yesterday in the Isle of Wight Cup.

Hilsum smiled: ‘A few of has had sore heads!

‘But thankfully we recovered enough and still managed to win.’