Blend of youth and experience key to Waterlooville
Jon Hudson led by example with a five-wicket haul as Waterlooville beat Paultons by 52 runs in their Southern League division two contest at Rowlands Avenue on Saturday.
Hudson, who recently took over the reins from Max Goddard, has seen his side win four of their opening five matches.
Goddard stepped down from the captaincy because of work pressures and injury problems.
‘Things have gone remarkably well so far and we are still a very young team,’ said Hudson.
‘We only have two members of the team who are over 30.
‘The majority of the rest are all in their early 20s.
‘This weekend we had two 16-year-olds and two 19-year-olds in the team.
‘We must be one of the youngest teams in the league and it is exciting to see just how far they can go.
‘Coming up into this division was a big step into the unknown but so far we have shown we can handle it.
‘Being a young side gives us a lot of energy and there is a good team spirit. It helps we are a good bunch of friends who socialise together off the pitch.
‘That gives us a good buzz and a willingness to go out and play for each other.’
Waterlooville won the toss and opted to bat first – even though they knew the wicket would not be easy.
Hudson predicted it might be a bit two-paced with the odd ball keeping low.
He knew if his side could set a target of around 170 it would put them in a good position.
But things didn’t go to plan early on – with overseas player Alex Smith and Archie Reynolds falling cheaply.
The former was bowled and Reynolds chipped an catch to mid-off.
It was one of Ville’s senior players – 30-year-old opener James Scutt (43) – who steadied the ship.
Along with the in-form Alex Shephard (50), he helped add 59 runs for the third wicket.
Hudson praised the contribution of his experienced duo.
The skipper added: ‘James has a lot of Premier League experience and is a proper player.
‘He has a terrific temperament, values his wicket and makes the most of his opportunities.
‘Alex hit three sixes and showed the value of putting bad balls away.’
Tom Greene, 16, gave Waterlooville extra momentum with a superb unbeaten 47 to lift his side close to the 200 mark.
‘We were quietly confident if we bowled well we would win,’ added Hudson.
Hudson then ripped through the opposition with five for 30, including three wickets for just two runs midway through their innings.