Hayling morale high despite Hampshire League anniversary defeat
Hayling Island and Portsmouth & Southsea managed to dodge the showers to stage their 45th anniversary Hampshire League rematch.
The two teams had met in the competition’s very first game back in 1973.
And as in the first fixture, it was Portsmouth & Southsea who ran out winners after putting their hosts into bat.
On a difficult wicket, Hayling were limited to 95 from their 40 overs.
In reply, Portsmouth & Southsea reached their target with just two wickets down.
Despite the defeat, Hayling captain Rob Cordell felt his side gave a good account of themselves.
‘We were punching above our weight against a team who will be playing two levels above us,’ he said.
‘With the recent weather it was no surprise the pitch was a bit soggy.
‘It didn’t behave particularly well for either team but we felt we gave them a game.
‘There were no stand-out performances – the pitch was a great leveller.
‘For both teams, though, it was actually good to play. It was more about the occasion than the game.
‘We officially opened our newly-refurbished pavilion with the community centre on the top floor.
‘It also has a balcony which gives a whole new perspective to watching the cricket.
‘It is a fantastic resource for the club.’
Hayling will play in Hampshire League division two this season after gaining promotion.
Over the winter they have attracted some new players who will give their squad some added depth.
Club stalwarts Mike Lever and Mike Hallett look set to open the batting again.
Lever has been with the club for 22 years and Hallett – apart from a couple of seasons at Emsworth – is another old-stager. Josie Wells and Gary Martin are expected to fill the three and four spots.
Hayling are also eagerly awaiting the return of powerful middle-order batsman Rory Prentice from Exeter University.
Lever regards the student as a key player for the team.
‘Rory averaged more than 50 for us last season,’ he said.
‘He is an explosive bat and can give us some important momentum.’
The familiar pair of Dave Wayman and Dave Gorvin are likely to share the new ball with support from Freddie Steel and Richie Bull.
One newcomer is all-rounder Ryan Atkins, who has looked handy so far.
Lever is looking forward to the challenge of division two.
‘Morale is the best at the club for many years,’ he added.
‘Our aim will be to consolidate our position at this level.
‘We probably have more depth in our squad than when we were last in this division.’