Havant’s hopes of regaining their Southern Electric Premier League crown took a hefty dent as they went down to a shock 30-run home defeat to Hampshire Academy.
The Hampshire young guns are lacking in experience and had yet to really fire this season.
However, they are clearly talented cricketers – even if the majority are taking their GCSEs this week and were squeezing in some last-minute revision in the changing room.
When things go their way on the pitch they are a dangerous side, as the host team found to their cost.
Defeat leaves Havant in third place in the table behind leaders Lymington and surprise-package Ventnor.
But even at this early stage in the campaign, the league looks wide open.
With Richard Hindley away celebrating getting married, stand-in skipper Jez Bulled felt the side had shown shades of complacency.
He said: ‘It’s a little bit of a shock.
‘We were hoping to win but it didn’t come to fruition.
‘The Academy have got some good young players but they haven’t won too many games this season.
‘So it’s disappointing but there’s no point in getting too angry about it.
‘We’ve got another chance next week and we need to put things right as quickly as possible.
‘We were going along nicely and getting ourselves into a good position in the league.
‘So it’s a wake-up call for us. It will definitely give us a kick up the backside for the next couple of weeks.’
The Academy made 206 for six from their 50 overs.
It was a decent total but certainly not insurmountable.
Skipper Michael Porter (83) hit his best league score as he performed well.
His 123-run stand with Tom Alsop (42) was the key to the innings, while Joe Weatherley (33 not out) also added useful late runs.
Havant were not at their sharpest in the field, though, as they put down several catches, while Bulled made a rare slip with the gloves when he failed to complete a stumping.
‘He (Porter) batted very well but we dropped him a few times and I missed a stumping, which doesn’t help,’ said Bulled.
‘So he certainly had a few lives.
‘We thought 206 was within reach and it wasn’t over par by any stretch of the imagination.’
In reply, Havant looked to be cruising along to victory as Pete Hopson (45) and Rob Gibson (44) shared 80 runs for the opening wicket.
But things quickly unravelled as Havant were largely undone by a dose of their own medicine – spin.
Talented leg-spinner Mason Crane (two for 35) made a major impact, while wicketkeeper Lewis McManus claimed three stumpings before another leg-spinner, Ollie Green (four for 31), got in on the act.
With Hindley’s steadying influence missing from the Havant middle order, Andrew Gorvin (31) was the only man to make any real headway.
Wickets continued to fall and Havant eventually succumbed to a disappointing 176 all out.
Bulled added: ‘We started off well but we didn’t bat very well after the opening pair, to be honest.
‘They had some very good spinners but we got stuck and mucked it up.’