Deja vu! – Portsmouth CC skipper James Christian equals career best score for the club with another century against Basingstoke

James Christian equalled his highest-ever innings for Portsmouth as the city club ended a run of Southern Premier League defeats.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 3:13 pm
James Christian struck his second Southern Premier League century for Portsmouth against Basingstoke & North Hants. Picture Ian Hargreaves

The skipper struck an unbeaten 104 as Portsmouth after losing their opening three Division 1 games, claimed a 37-run victory over Basingstoke & North Hants at Mays Bounty.

Co-incidentally, his previous innings of 104 had ALSO been scored against Basingstoke - in another SPL second tier victory in June 2017.

Back then Christian - as he did on Saturday, opening the innings - hit 11 fours and two sixes in a 137-ball stay at the crease.

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This time, he scored his runs more quickly but hit fewer boundaries - recording nine fours and a six in his 103-ball innings.

After choosing to bat on winning the toss, Christian’s third SPL career century - his best remains 156 for Havant 2nds against Alton 2nds in a Division 3 match in 2015 - helped the visitors post 239-5 off their 40 overs.

All the Portsmouth top order made a start but only No 5 Jack Marston (45 off 63 balls) hung around for too long, helping Christian add 101 for the fifth wicket.

Henry Woolf (2-37) picked up two early wickets in reply, clean bowling both Basingstoke openers Dan Belcher and Craig Williamson as the hosts nosedived to 5-2.

Basingstoke were in deep trouble on 49-5 but Joe Oates (56) and Dean Nurse (47) rescued them with a sixth wicket stand of 92.

That was ended when Jonathan Brook (2-35) clean bowled Nurse and Portsmouth were in command again when Oates was caught by Christian off the bowling of Reuben McArdle shortly after.

No 8 Matt Donaldson ensured Basingstoke didn’t go down without a fight, hitting a breezy 35 off 27 balls and adding 57 for the eighth wicket with Laurence Benge (16 not out).

But with Andrew Marston recording a miserly 2-23 off eight overs, the hosts were always behind the run rate and ended on 202-8.