‘Massive relief’ for Hayling after first win

Hayling Island celebrate their first wicket in the triumph. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151268-021)
Hayling Island celebrate their first wicket in the triumph. Picture: Allan Hutchings (151268-021)
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Hayling Island celebrated their first success of the season with a six-wicket win over fellow Hampshire League division one strugglers Locks Heath.

The Hayling Park outfit are already consigned to relegation back to the second tier but the win still meant a lot to them.

Captain Mike Lever admitted his team, who were only promoted to the top flight last summer, were in a celebratory mood afterwards.

‘We had a few beers I was feeling a little hung over yesterday,’ said Lever.

‘It is a massive relief to pick up our first win because we didn’t want to go all summer without winning a game.

‘This has lifted the spirits and picked everyone up.

‘We know we are already relegated but our main aim in the last few weeks has been to secure a win.

‘No-one likes going out and losing every week but our main problem has been a lack of depth.

‘We are a small club and have problems if key players are not around.’

It was touch and go whether the game would take place after last week’s heavy rain.

The ground was very wet and the start was delayed for an hour to give it time to dry out.

The game was reduced to 40 overs and when it started, Lever won the toss and put the visitors into bat.

Hayling gained early encouragement when Mike Hallett claimed the scalp of Locks Heath danger man Jack Paskins caught and bowled.

Economical bowling from Richie Poole, Hallett and Lever then restricted Locks Heath to 183 for nine.

‘For once all our bowlers hit their line and length,’ said Lever.

‘Typically this season we have only had one or two doing that in a game without the necessary back-up.’

Lever (26) and Hallett (54) gave the home side a solid 60-run first wicket partnership when they began to chase the target down.

The home captain departed to a diving catch at mid-wicket from a long-hop to sew a few seeds of doubt in the home players’ minds.

‘When we have lost top order wickets it has generally led to a middle-order collapse,’ said Lever.

But on this occasion Gary Martin was the hero with his 70 not out sealing a four-wicket win.

‘He will be dining out on this for years,’ said Lever.

‘It was a massive knock in the circumstances because he hasn’t been getting many runs.’

Hayling are already planning for their return to division two.

Lever admits life has been tough at the top level but also insists his team have not disgraced themselves.

‘There have been at least three games before this we could and maybe should have won,’ he said.

‘If we had managed to get ourselves over the line in those games chances are we could have stayed up.’