CHRIS MORGAN proved Havant’s hero as they secured a 41-run win over New Milton at Havant Park in the Southern League premier division.
Morgan took four wickets for 18 and proved almost unplayable as the New Forest visitors were bowled out for 131 in under 45 overs.
Skipper Ben Walker sang the praises of the 27-year-old slow left-arm spinner who has played virtually all his cricket at the club after starting in the junior section.
‘He produced a phenomenal spell of bowling and New Milton couldn’t cope with him,’ said Walker.
‘Apart from his time at Durham University and a year on the Hampshire staff he has played his cricket with us.
‘He knows the game inside out and we are fortunate to have someone of his quality regularly available.
‘Luckily he loves the club and made his senior debut when he was only 13 years of age.
‘He has a special talent.’
Earlier Havant lost opener Brad Taylor cheaply after being put into bat by the visitors.
Pete Hopson scored 41 runs and Walker made 36 to set the foundations on a difficult wicket.
They had to work hard on a pitch that had been made tricky by the rains during the week and a downpour during the morning.
Both were disappointed to lose their wicket after doing the hard work to get in.
Stuart Ransley (36), back from Dubai, looked like he had never been away, adding some valuable late runs before being run out on the last ball.
Walker felt it was enough to make it interesting but he would have liked a larger amount of runs to defend.
‘Our total was competitive but not brilliant,’ said Walker.
Cameron Prentice and Josh McCoy bowled well at the start of the New Milton innings but the introduction of spinner Morgan proved decisive.
His work and the efforts of the team in the field ensured Havant got the job done without being at their best overall – an important quality in their title defence.
‘It was a good workmanlike performance,’ said Walker.
‘I am pleased with the effort and commitment put in by the whole team.
‘The league looks as though it is going to be very close this summer.
‘The games will be competitive week in, week out which is what you want.
‘It was brilliant winning the title last season and it is always harder to defend it.
‘That, however, is the ultimate aim and it will be a great effort if we achieve it.’