Kent finishes job in style to seal safety

Fareham & Crofton are staying up. Picture: Keith Woodland
Fareham & Crofton are staying up. Picture: Keith Woodland
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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Thomas Kent finished the job with a huge six as Fareham & Crofton beat Lymington II to secure safety in Hampshire League division one.

The highly-talented opener, 18, struck 53 not out at Bath Lane.

His efforts came at a key time when Fareham & Crofton were wobbling in pursuit of the modest target of 133.

Kent ensured they got there to seal safety on the final day of the season – for the second year in succession.

Vice captain Charlie Stubbs feels survival was crucial for the continued development of the club’s young players.

‘It is the second year running that we have stayed up on the final day of the season,’ said Stubbs.

‘Our young team has been on a huge learning curve but we are becoming more experienced.

‘We have some fantastic young prospects at the club and it was vital that we stayed at this level for their future development.’

Stubbs praised the contribution of Kent who cracked a superb six to seal survival.

The teenager has been the top batsman for the club this summer, showing great maturity in playing a crucial part.

Stubbs said: ‘He has been our best batsman by far this season.

‘The lad is only 18 and going off to Reading University next month but he has consistently made runs for us.

‘He has ended up with nearly 500 runs this season and that is some achievement.

‘You can count on one hand the number of times he has failed to reach double figures.

‘He has been Mr Reliable for us.

‘Thomas is a classic opening batsman who plays in his arc and builds his innings over time.

‘He has played a big part in keeping us up again.’

Fareham & Crofton had to overcome some nervy moments on their way to recording the crucial victory.

Lymington raced to 40 for one after winning the toss and deciding to bat.

Ben Whyte, 16, bowled a good opening spell but it was South African born Shaun Baker who ripped Lymington apart.

The bowler claimed six for 30 as he ripped out the visitor’s middle order.

It was only his fifth appearance of the summer due to unavailability but he showed what his team had been missing with his impressive display.

In reply, the hosts were soon feeling the pressure.

Both Sam Stoddart and Ben Kissane were back in the pavilion with just 10 runs on the board.

Kent then came to the rescue with his match-winning innings and finished the match in style.

Stubbs believes the club can now push on and ensure last-day survival chases are a thing of the past.

He feels there are plenty of positive steps being taken to ensure a bright future.

‘As a club we are moving forward and in two years time I expect it to be thriving,’ said Stubbs.

‘The council have helped us lay a new cricket strip.

‘We are also having a new pavilion built.

‘Our old facilities are also being revamped so things are looking bright for the future.’