Centurions keep Purbrook’s escape bid alive

Purbrook's Sean Figgins. Picture: Sarah Standing (111785-4297)
Purbrook's Sean Figgins. Picture: Sarah Standing (111785-4297)
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Purbrook lifted themselves off the bottom of Hampshire League division one with a thrilling three-run win at Ryde in a rain-affected contest.

When early evening thunder and heavy rain brought the contest to an end, the hosts were just one boundary short of reaching the reduced target of 152 from 28 overs.

The unlikely win was relegation-battling Purbrook’s second consecutive success and there is increased belief in the camp they can still pull off a great escape.

Remarkably, the triumph over sixth-placed Ryde came against all the odds after their captain Sean Figgins and James Iles found themselves banned.

‘We only found out from the league a couple of days before that we were banned for one game after incidents against Fareham & Crofton recently,’ said Figgins.

‘It is a bit disappointing, though, if potentially we are the only team reprimanded.

‘We know we shouldn’t have reacted the way we did but feel we have learned our lesson.

‘It was a big blow because we were already a few players short.

‘Ryde is a tough place to go at the best of times because they are a good side.

‘We knew we would be up against it but the situation brought the best out of people.’

The experienced figure of Graham McCoy took over the captaincy with Figgins forced to watch from the sidelines and he did a fine job.

Winning the toss the visitors decided to take a gamble on batting first, even though there was rain forecast for later in the day.

Purbrook lost Jason Holder and Dave Cleeve early in the innings and at 20 for two they were staring down the barrel.

However, Aussie opening batsman Jack Cunningham and 15-year-old Josh McCoy put on 188 for the third wicket to put their team back on track.

Both players celebrated maiden centuries and they could not have arrived at a better time for the visitors.

‘Jack very much played the anchor role, accumulating his runs with some lovely shots at a steady rate,’ said Figgins.

‘Josh hit his 101 off 97 balls, hitting the ball hard all around the wicket.

‘Our final total of 270 was about par for the wicket but we felt we should have got over 300 in the end.’

Tight bowling in the first 10 overs of the Ryde innings by Josh McCoy and Aaron Dean kept Ryde on a tight rein.

Conditions then began to deteriorate with constant drizzle falling and Ryde needing to reach 152 off 28 overs.

When the thunder and rain forced the teams off for the final time, Purbrook still had their noses in front – but only just.

‘With five games left we have given ourselves a good chance of staying up,’ said Figgins.

‘The real test of character is how you play when the chips are down and we have shown that in the last couple of weeks.

‘Now it is a case of keeping our spirits up and getting the three or four wins we need.’