Benfield steps up to help Portsmouth & Southsea defeat Purbrook
Portsmouth & Southsea’s bowling attack might have difficulty getting the new ball off Matt Benfield after he helped set up a vital Southern League division three win against Purbrook.
With Jake Peach and Chris Turrell both absent, the all-rounder stepped up and put the hosts on the front foot with an outstanding opening spell.
Benfield picked up figures of one for 15 as Purbook were skittled out for 156.
And the St James Hospital side reached the target with four wickets remaining.
Jack Davies was delighted to see Benfield come to the fore.
The skipper said: ‘Matt hasn't bowled a lot this season and I know would love to open up for us on a regular basis.
‘He doesn't normally get much chance because of the other options that we have.
‘I am sure that he was out to show us and prove a point.
‘He bowled a brilliant 10-over spell, taking a wicket and only conceding 15 runs.
‘Bowling his medium pace, he got what he could out of the pitch and nibbled the ball around a bit.
‘At times, he was unplayable and must have beaten the bat on at least 30 occasions.’
Davies felt Benfield's bowling added to the positivity his team set out to display.
Despite starting the day second from bottom, the St James Hospital side were determined not to feel the pressure.
Jonathan Willey (two for 20) and Matt Williams (one for 20) also bowled well to restrict Purbook to 156.
Clarke Harding (53) was the pick of the Purbrook batsmen.
Having failed to chase down a couple of moderate targets already this season, Portsmouth & Southsea remained wary at the halfway stage.
Although they lost Shaun Briggs, early on Chris Bollom (24) and Matt Benfield (29) continued to attack the Purbrook bowling.
Davies (24) also contributed valuable runs in what he regarded as a great team effort.
The skipper added: ‘We had a bit of a wobble when we lost two wickets in two balls and some of us got a little twitchy.
‘Dean Lee (24). however. showed great patience and. along with Ollie Kanavan (34 not out), took the game away from Purbrook.’