Proud Rich Locke lauded the character of his young Portsmouth side as they snatched a thrilling three-run win from the jaws of defeat at Rowledge in Southern League division one.
The visitors, all out for 198, feared the worst when Rowledge moved to within four runs of victory with two wickets to spare.
But with three overs left to secure an expected win the hosts crumbled under the pressure, with Fraser Hay delivering the ninth wicket before Indy Nandra struck to seal victory for delirious Portsmouth.
In a thrilling finale it was fitting that Nandra would be the man to have the final say, having top scored for Locke’s side with the bat with 80 runs.
Skipper Locke said: ‘It was nail-biting stuff.
‘Rowledge were at a stage where they needed four runs from the last three overs with two wickets to go.
‘Fraser, though, cleaned up their number nine, taking his middle stump out of the ground.
‘And then Indy came on for the next over bowled really tightly and got the guy with a fantastic slower ball.
‘It led to decent celebrations from what was a highly emotive match.’
For Locke, the manner of the victory taught him a lot about his side.
He said: ‘It is great that the guys kept pushing all the way to the end.
‘A lot of other teams would think at that point the game was lost already.
‘We kept saying it just takes two balls and quite honestly that is how it materialised.
‘We believed it more than they did and they froze – you could see it in their eyes.
‘It was a really proud moment to see the guys get over the line.
‘They are bunch of youngsters as well it is great to see them step up to the plate and take the responsibility.’
Having played a supporting role in the opening-day victory over Totton & Eling, there was no doubt it was Nandra’s day this time round.
Locke said: ‘Indy Nandra put a great knock together of 80 – a really fabulous innings to weather the storm when we were four wickets down.
‘He was fabulous in his batting and certainly played the spin and knocked it in the gaps really well.
‘But he contributed with both bat and ball – he also got the last wicket and bowled very economically.
‘It was a bit of a starring role for him!’
Overseas talent Hay failed to repeat his opening-day heroics with the bat as he was bowled for a duck.
But his telling contribution at the end with ball told Locke all he needed to know about the youngstes.
He said: ‘Fraser was hugely disappointed with his duck.
‘He wants to be the star of the team and scoring runs and contributing every week – but that fired him up in terms of his bowling.
‘If he misses out on one discipline he is able to execute with another.’