Havant challenge inspires Ventnor

Cricket'Ollie Mills''Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
Cricket'Ollie Mills''Picture: Dave Vokes/LMI Photography
New Hampshire signing Sam Northeast  Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Hampshire head to Northeast for success

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Ian Hilsum is relishing a return to limited-overs cricket.

The Ventnor skipper is preparing to lead his troops into battle against Havant tomorrow.

The showdown at Havant Park will mark the resumption of the Southern Electric Premier League premier division’s 50-over competition.

It is a format the Newclose side have thrived in – winning four of their five fixtures at the beginning of the campaign.

Ventnor currently sit in second spot in the limited-overs table – and only South Wilts are above them in the overall reckoning after the timed campaign.

But while the 50-over title would be a fine acheivement for Hilsum’s men, the skipper is refusing to put pressure on them.

He is simply hoping to enjoy a mouthwatering clash with premier division heavyweights Havant.

‘Every game is difficult in this league and Havant are a good side who don’t lose many at home,’ he said.

‘So we are just going there to enjoy ourselves and hopefully get a good result.

‘We have been going well and we want more of the same really.

‘It would be good to basically pick up where we left off in the 50-over games back in June.’

Unbeaten in four games, Ventnor have benefited from the arrival of Aussie Travis Head this term.

He has proved a key man in their fortunes, having racked up more than 700 runs and 19 wickets to date.

The 19-year-old South Australian tops the league’s run-scoring charts, while leading the way with both bat and ball for his club.

But Hilsum has shrugged off suggestions the Islanders are a one-man team.

Former Hambledon top-order batsman Ollie Mills also arrived at the club this summer – and he has enjoyed a stunning season, too.

Despite a slight dip in recent games, he boasts more than 600 runs –including two centuries, one more than Head.

‘Travis has been brilliant – on and off the field – but we are not a one-man team,’ said Hilsum.

‘He is just part of a decent squad we have assembled here.

‘Ollie is another player who has been a brilliant acquisition for us.

‘Although he has had a few shaky performances recently, hopefully the return to the 50-overs pennant will revitalise his campaign.’

Ventnor will be without Jake George for tomorrow’s clash.

The Hampshire youngster has been opening alongside Mills in recent games.

But he has been recalled by the county to play for the Academy.

Neil Westhorpe returns to the line-up, with Ventnor otherwise unchanged from the side that beat Bournemouth by 45 runs last weekend.

Havant, meanwhile, are without skipper Richard Hindley.

With the all-rounder absent, Jez Bulled will take over the reins.

And the wicketkeeper will be hoping for better luck than when the two clubs met earlier in the campaign in a timed game.

Despite Bulled hitting 53, Ventnor ran out seven-wicket winners – with Head and James Cheek both notching half-centuries.