Sarisbury Athletic II will need to contain Portchester’s prolific opening batsman Andrew Webb if they are to make a winning start to their Hampshire League division one campaign.
Webb kick-started his season with a century in his side’s confident 90-run win over New Milton II and looks hungry for runs.
It was a special innings for the Australian who dedicated it to his grandfather, who died a fortnight ago.
Webb had travelled to Australia for the funeral and only arrived back in England 48 hours before the game with New Milton.
There was never any question of him not playing, though.
‘When he reached his century he saluted the sky,’ said Portchester captain Tom Adams.
‘You could see how much it meant to him and it was very emotional.
‘Despite his long trip back to England, he went out there and showed everybody how it should be done.
‘It was almost the perfect opening innings, displaying a lot of patience and hitting the bad balls when they came along.
‘He never looked hurried or troubled at any time during his innings.
‘It is his second season with us and we regard him as our local version of Australia’s Mr Cricket – Michael Hussey.
‘A lot of his mannerisms are similar.’
Webb is looking to repeat his success of last season when he finished sixth in the league batting averages, scoring over 600 runs.
He also proved that he is no slouch with the ball, finishing one place higher in the bowling charts with 29 wickets.
He will prove a massive obstacle to Sarisbury, although the home side will breathe a sigh of relief that the Locke brothers won’t be lining up against them.
Richie Locke – second in the batting averages last season, scoring 606 runs – and his brother Curtis are away at a wedding.
Adams was delighted with last week’s winning start but preached caution about his team’s prospects of launching a title bid.
‘We musn’t make the mistake of thinking that we have cracked it,’ said Adams.
‘That would be silly at this early stage.
‘I am looking for us to go out and improve every game and expect our targets to develop week by week.
‘Against New Milton we set them a target and then went at them from the start.
‘We were on our toes from the first ball of their innings with a high tempo.
‘They were two wickets down for two runs and then three down with just eight runs on the board.
‘We need to keep trying to do that to teams and go looking for our next win.’
Sarisbury are keen to get started after losing their opening two games to the weather.
A young home outfit have Sam Floyd back from a football tournament in Amsterdam.
Sarisbury Athletic II: Jon Floyd, Sam Floyd, Andre Manders, Tre Manders, Tom Kitcher, Dan Clouting, Justin Drummond, Dom Sampson, Cam Pye, Tom Farley, Robbie Pitts-Mellan
Portchester: Andrew Webb, Tom Adams, Matt Crouch, Steve O’Neill, Hayden Sole, Paul Hungerford, Lee Hungerford, Blake Barnwell, Scott Elson, Harry Robbins, Dave O’Neill