Gloves are off - and on - as Portchester triumph

Andy Webb, left, was just one of four keepers who took the gloves for Portchester. Picture: Mick Young (13493-09)
Andy Webb, left, was just one of four keepers who took the gloves for Portchester. Picture: Mick Young (13493-09)
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

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Portchester turned in a glovely team performance to earn a 59-run succcess over Fareham & Crofton in Hampshire League division one.

The Cams Hill outfit used a remarkable four wicketkeepers in the process of securing derby delight.

Regular glovesman Hayden Sole was struck down by a bout of hayfever during the Fareham innings.

The illness, which just so happened to coincide with a late night after his school leaver’s prom, forced him to exit the field and left Portchester looking for a stand-in keeper.

Overseas player Andy Webb, who keeps wicket back in Australia, then stepped up – until he was required to bowl.

Skipper Paul Hungerford then took over for a spell behind the stumps.

But when the captain brought himself on for a bowl, Webb did not return behind the timbers.

Instead, the captain’s brother Lee Hungerford was the man to strap on the pads and become the fourth keeper of the innings.

Vice-captain Dave O’Neill said: ‘It was an absolute shambles but it seemed to work out for us in the end.

‘I’ve never seen it before – not even in a Sunday friendly game or in a tour match.

‘Hayden was suffering with hayfever, we believe, so he had to leave the field.

‘Nobody else has had much experience of keeping wicket and we were short on bowling.

‘We did it at drinks breaks so it wasn’t too bad. The only delay was when Hayden left the field.

‘Paul was claiming it was tactical genius and kept the batsmen guessing, while I was just shaking my head!

‘Still, at least we got the win and that’s the most important thing in the end.’

Portchester’s Matt Crouch (69) led the way with the bat, while Lee Hungerford’s 42 helped the side to 225 – despite the best efforts of Danny Durrant (four for 40).

In reply, Ricky Davidson (63) was in great form for Fareham & Crofton and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Ben Cooper (25) to give the visitors hope.

But the Bath Lane outfit, who were captained by Ben Kissane in the absence of banned skipper Luke Gould because of recent disciplinary problems, saw their hopes fade when Webb – who by then had ditched the keeper’s gloves – came on to take four for 34.

Fareham & Crofton bowler Charlie Stubbs said: ‘It was a pretty hot day and although we fielded quite well, if we had kept their score down by 30 runs, we might have been able to chase it.

‘Ricky and Ben put on a really good partnership and for a while it looked like they might be able to get us close.

‘But it just fell away for us towards the end, unfortunately.’

Portchester, meanwhile, still have ambitions of pushing for promotion but know they need to find consistency to keep putting pressure on the teams above them. O’Neill said: ‘It was an important win for us.

‘It’s our derby game, so we always want to win that one but we still want to keep putting pressure on the teams above us.

‘If we can string a few wins together, who knows where it could take us?

‘We will just take it one game at a time – and hopefully one wicketkeeper at a time in future!’