Aussie duo are looking to rule

Lee Hungerford
Lee Hungerford
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

Hampshire start T20 Blast campaign against Glamorgan

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Melbourne buddies Ryan Smith and Andrew Webb will be on opposite sides as Locks Heath welcome Portchester to Warsash Road in Hampshire League division one tomorrow.

Back home in Australia, the duo play for the same club.

They are also team-mates for the local Aussie Rules side at Newcombe & District.

But bragging rights are up for grabs as Smith, of Locks Heath, and Portchester’s Webb get set for derby day.

Webb admitted he could have a special send-off for his mate.

‘It will be strange because we have never played cricket against each other before,’ said Webb.

‘Ryan has a newspaper cutting that shows we once played Aussie Rules against each other but that was when we were only 10-years-old.

‘Knowing Ryan, I am expecting a bit of banter because he won’t be able to help himself.

‘I am sure he will try getting into me but I will try to stay out of it.

‘We have both already been on Facebook to our friends back home so the banter has started already.

‘He reckons he will smash my bowling around a bit.

‘If I manage to get him out, I might just give him a bit of a send-off – pointing him the way to the changing rooms.’

Both teams have ambitions of a top-three finish and come into the game with good wins under their belt.

Webb arrived in this country as a wicket-keeper batsman.

But he has successfully transformed himself into a wicket-taking bowler.

He took another four-wicket haul in the comprehensive win over Fareham & Crofton to help consolidate Portchester’s fourth-placed position.

Both teams boast plenty of match-winners in their side with both bat and ball and a close-fought affair is expected.

For Portchester, Matthew Crouch, 18, added himself to that list with an outstanding innings of 69 last weekend.

The consistent Lee Hungerford weighed in with another valuable contribution as he hit 42.

With Rich and Curtis Locke, they also possess another two dangermen with the latter due a big score.

Locks Heath spent a hot afternoon in the field, before returning to winning ways at Purbrook last weekend.

Scott Jones (70) and Alex Adams (65) again showed their class to help their side keep pressure on the top six.

‘Another scorching hot weekend is forecast so it would be nice to win the toss and bat first,’ said Locks Heath captain Jack Levy.

‘We would fancy our chances of getting runs on the board and we have proved better at defending.

‘This summer we have struggled a little with consistency.

‘Some weeks we can be brilliant and the next not so good.

‘There is never very much between us and Portchester and it is usually an exciting game.

‘We must look to make sure we do the simple things right.’