Young guns fire Purbrook to success

Proud Purbrook skipper Sean Figgins. Picture: Nigel Kenny
Proud Purbrook skipper Sean Figgins. Picture: Nigel Kenny
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Fareham & Crofton were given a rude awakening as they began life back in the Hampshire League.

Purbrook’s young guns swept them aside on the way to a five-wicket win at Bath Lane on Saturday.

After last season’s relegation, the home side have ambitions to bounce straight back up into the Southern Electric Premier League.

But Purbook showed them promotion from Hampshire League division one will be no walk in the park.

And it was the visitors’ youngsters who put the hosts in their place.

Fourteen-year-old paceman Josh McCoy – on debut – took three for 12 off eight overs as the home side were restricted to 180 for eight.

And with the match finely poised – after Purbrook reached 90 for four in reply – it was 17-year-old Brad Mengham who struck an unbeaten 50 to see his side home.

Aaron Dean provided impressive support with 30 not out, leaving Sean Figgins delighted with his team’s performance.

The Purbrook skipper said: ‘It was an excellent start for us against one of the fancied sides. Most of our side is still very young but they showed a maturity beyond their years.

‘We showed the ability to apply ourselves after weathering an early storm – in previous years we would have folded.

‘Josh McCoy came on and changed the game with his spell of seam bowling.

‘Brad Mengham has returned to the club after a year away with Bedhampton and he looks a better player for it.

‘He and Aaron Dean showed great patience just when it was needed.’

Figgins put Fareham & Crofton in to bat on a soft wicket but his side failed to take early advantage.

The home side’s openers – skipper Luke Gould (69) and Ed White – put on 87 in the first 20 overs and they still looked well-placed on 100 for one after 24.

But the introduction of McCoy, with the help of Alan Mengham (three for 39), swung the game in Purbrook’s favour.

‘Our middle order faltered and we ended up about 20 runs too short,’ said Fareham & Crofton captain Gould.

‘In the final 10 overs we only scored 37 and that’s what cost us.’

Purbrook’s reply got off to a shaky start – and at 30 for three off 15 overs the winning line seemed a long way off.

Figgins (42) and Sam Pearce (25) – free from his footballing duties with the Hawks – led the recovery for the visitors.

But at 90 for four the game could still have gone either way.

The sixth-wicket partnership of 90 runs by Mengham and Dean saw Purbrook keep their nerve for a winning start, though.

And while he was disappointed to lose, Gould felt there were lots of positives for his side.

‘It was one of those games where winning the toss makes a big difference,’ said Gould.

‘I felt our intensity in the field was good and there were some good bowling performances.’