Nkomo stars as Dons send rivals down

Hambledon bowler Ian Turner. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142031-9672)
Hambledon bowler Ian Turner. Picture: Malcolm Wells (142031-9672)
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Shane Nkomo hit his highest score for Hambledon as they sent Hursley Park down from Southern Electric division two.

The South African took two wickets with the ball as the strugglers were bowled out for 184.

Rhidian Chapman (two for 36) claimed the first wicket but the key wicket was that of Bothwell Chapungu, who struck a century in the reverse fixture at Ridge Meadow.

The Zimbabwean had hit three sixes and three fours in just 21 balls as he raced to 41 before he skied another attempted big shot to Spencer Le Clercq from Ian Turner’s bowling.

But Nkomo then hit a superb 91, which included 10 fours and four sixes from 101 balls.

And that was the dominant part in a 173-run opening partnership with Will Bond (75 not out) that took the Dons to within 12 runs of victory.

They duly obliged to claim a nine-wicket success and ensure their opponents will be playing in division three next season.

Skipper Rob Atkins said: ‘Shane was brilliant.

‘He has been nagging me to open the batting for a couple of weeks and George (Marshall) was away, so we gave him an opportunity.

‘He produced an innings for the team rather than batting for himself.

‘It was just a shame he wasn’t there at the end to get his century.

‘But he knew the job was done and was intent on hitting everything out of the ground by that point.

‘Bondy played a great knock as well.

‘He has really kicked on this season and looks at home at the top of the order now.’

Atkins felt the key moment in the game was the dismissal of Chapungu.

He said: ‘We knew he was the key wicket.

‘We spread the field and waited until he hit it down someone’s throat.

‘Turns showed his class again, did him in the flight and he skied it. Spencer took a good catch under pressure.

‘The way they beat us earlier in the season, we felt pretty sore.

‘Their overseas player took the game away from us on his own and we felt we owed them one for the manner of that victory.’

It continued the Dons’ recent improvements and bodes well for next season.

Atkins said: ‘We’ve only lost to the top two teams in the division in the second half of the season.

‘The youngsters have come on leaps and bounds.

‘It sets us up nicely for next season if we can keep this team together.’