The Havant dressing room was not a happy place after the home side slumped to a surprise last-ball Southern Electric Premier League defeat against St Cross Symondians at Havant Park.
The defeat couldn’t have come in a more dramatic fashion, with Chris Morgan having his final ball smacked over long on for six to give the visitors a one-wicket win – their first success of the season.
It was a game that player-coach Pete Hopson felt his team would have won but for some patchy bowling and sub-standard fielding.
‘It was a bad day at the office as far as our bowling and fielding was concerned,’ said Hopson.
‘We were nowhere near our best in those aspects of the game.
‘It was hugely disappointing to get ourselves into a good position in a see-saw game and not finish it off.
‘There wasn’t a great deal of elation in our dressing room afterwards.
‘Everyone could have done a lot better in the field.
‘It’s not what we have come to expect at Havant and we will be keen to bounce back in our next game.’
Hopson (67) and Ben Walker gave Havant a solid start on a tricky wicket still damp from the midweek rain.
They put on 69 runs for the first wicket before Walker’s dismissal, lbw to Tayab Farooq, signalled a mini-collapse.
Morgan and Harry Hovey were quickly back in the pavilion before the experienced Richard Hindley (67) helped steady the ship.
When Hopson departed, Havant had reached 137 for four but Christopher Stone (53) joined Hindley to give the innings further impetus. Havant finished on 237 for five, a total that Hopson felt was very competitive given the awkward wicket.
‘I was pleased with our batting because we had to battle hard at times to get where we did,’ said Hopson.
‘We still could have capitalised on it a bit more.’
There was no sign of the problems ahead when Ben Walker trapped one of the St Cross openers lbw without scoring at the start of the visitors reply.
Unfortunately, Havant then dropped Adam Rouse (69) before he had scored and he went on with Matt Haworth to forge a 124-run second wicket partnership.
When Stuart Ransley bowled Haworth, though, the game swung back in Havant’s favour.
St Cross were reduced to 168 for seven and the odds once again favoured the hosts.
‘We didn’t finish well and had too many misdemeanours in the field,’ added Hopson.
‘The loss is a setback but it doesn’t mean we can’t win the title.
‘Every team in this league possesses players who are capable of winning games for them.
‘The league is very competitive and all the teams will come up against situations like this and not just us.
‘We have to come back stronger.’