Smith piles misery on Melbourne-mate Webb

Ryan Smith, left, keeping wicket for Locks Heath against Portchester
Ryan Smith, left, keeping wicket for Locks Heath against Portchester
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Ryan Smith got one over on best pal Andrew Webb as Locks Heath beat Portchester by seven wickets in their Hampshire League division one derby clash.

The duo are mates, from Melbourne, where they play in the same cricket team and also the same Aussie Rules side.

But here they went head to head for the first time, with Smith helping secure a crucial win for Locks Heath.

Webb, who is a wicketkeeper turned bowler, failed to take any wickets, while opening bat Smith produced a solid innings at the start of the Locks Heath reply.

Locks Heath soon had Portchester in trouble after the visitors won the toss and decided to bat first.

Opening bowlers Jack Paskins and Jamie Hill reduced Portchester to 34 for two after 10 overs.

The middle order then produced a brief flurry, but the visitors could limp to only 184 for eight off their 50 overs.

Portchester struggled to deal with the accuracy of Paskins and the hostility of Hill.

‘Our two opening bowlers set the tone,’ said Locks Heath captain Jack Levy.

‘They couldn’t get Jack away because of his ability to bowl a tight line.

‘That kept the pressure on them and they became increasingly frustrated.

‘It was just a shame we didn’t bowl them out.’

The Portchester total was below par and looked unlikely to trouble the home side.

Locks Heath easily reached their target for the loss of just three wickets, in 31 overs.

Though Dave O’Neill removed the dangerous Scott Jones for 10 after six overs, Alex Richardson (85) took charge with a confident innings.

‘Alex is a cracking batsman and he just went out there and played his shots,’ said Levy.

‘He took a liking to the bowling of Lee Hungerford and smacked him around the field.

‘Alex was due for some runs and you could see he was keen for it when he went out there.’

The win enabled Locks Heath to close the gap on the leading group.

Levy is convinced his men can increase the pressure on the teams above them in the next few weeks.

His side still have to play two of the top three teams.

They will meet current unbeaten leaders Waterlooville on the final day of the season.

‘We have struggled a bit with a lack of consistency at times this summer,’ said Levy.

‘But now we have got ourselves into a good position to challenge the leading clubs.

‘There are some players unavailable in the next few weeks but we have the strength in depth to cover that.’

Contrastingly, Portchester’s own ambitions of a top-three finish suffered a big dent.