Walker and Loat blast Havant II to win

Ben Walker
Ben Walker
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

Vince relishing ‘second chance’

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Ben Walker dropped down to Havant seconds and promptly wrote himself into the record books but insisted: It still means as much to me.

The former Havant skipper shared a mammoth 251-run partnership for the opening wicket – the highest opening stand in Southern Electric division three history – as both himself and Simon Loat struck superb centuries.

It’s still a hundred and it meant as much to me as scoring any other hundred

Ben Walker

Walker blasted 16 fours in his 103 from 114 balls, while Loat hit 121, which included 12 fours and one six in his 157-ball stay.

It meant Havant II posted 301 for two and they then destroyed Totton & Eling II with the ball as skipper Graham Burns (six for 16) and Jez Ord (three for 27) knocked them over for just 79 to complete a 222-run thrashing.

Wicketkeeper Loat also capped a fine individual display with five dismissals behind the stumps.

Walker, who normally opens the batting for the first team, was unable to take up his regular spot alongside Pete Hopson because his work commitments meant he could not play the all-day game in the premier division.

That saw Havant claim a tight 25-run victory over Hampshire Academy, sealing victory in the penultimate over.

But Walker still felt he got plenty from his stint alongside his fellow club mates.

Walker said: ‘I work as a personal banking manager for Nationwide and I have to work some Saturday mornings. With the all-day games, I can’t make the 11.30am start.

‘It was nice to play with some different guys at the club because you don’t always get that chance.

‘We all pull on the same shirt.

‘It’s still a hundred and it meant as much to me as scoring any other hundred – especially because I’ve choked a couple of times already this season!

‘You don’t really think about records as you are batting, but afterwards you reflect on it and think it was quite a good effort.’

Although it was at a level which is probably way below his ability, Walker revealed he did not take the game lightly.

He said: ‘As a youngster, I would have that streak and think I didn’t need to have that same approach.

‘Before the game, Graham Burns and Andy Galliers talked about everyone taking more responsibility and not leaving it for others.

‘We could have got to 100 and thought we had done our job, but we kept going.

‘I get used to batting with Pete week in, week out and we know what makes each other tick.

‘But it was nice to bat with Simon – he kept saying the right things and he played really well.

‘It was an expensive day for him though.

‘He had to buy a jug of beer for his hundred and one for getting five dismissals as well!’