Hambledon’s Chris Pratt hits maiden century as Matt De Villiers takes another giant step towards setting new Southern Premier League record

Matt De Villiers took another huge step towards setting a new Southern Premier League run record.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 31st July 2022, 9:48 am
Updated Sunday, 31st July 2022, 9:48 am

But the Hambledon ace was upstaged by university student Chris Pratt in Hambledon’s latest Division 2 victory.

Pratt struck a maiden SPL century as promotion favourites Dons strolled to a nine-wicket victory at Fawley - their 11th league win in 12 matches in 2022.

Pratt - who has been a regular this season after driving down from Loughborough every weekend to play - ended unbeaten on 104.

Chris Pratt struck his maiden Southern Premier League century for Hambledon against Fawley. Picture Ian Hargreaves

He shared a match-winning unbroken second wicket stand of 138 with De Villiers, who finished on 75 not out.

That took De Viliers’ SPL run total to a staggering 944, and the South African now needs just 133 runs to overtake Will Prozesky’s 2005 SPL record of 1,076.

De Villiers has now passed 50 nine times in 12 league innings, going on to reach three figures on four occasions.

Pratt hit 14 fours and a six in his 134-ball innings, while De Villiers was in a greater hurry - hitting eight fours and a six in his 60-ball knock.

Pratt brought up his hundred by hitting a boundary off the second ball of the 41st over. He took a single off the next delivery before De Villiers sealed the win by hitting another four.

Andrew Parratt had earlier dominated Fawley’s 223-9 total by completing back-to-back league centuries.

A week after hitting 118 against Ventnor, he struck 117 with 15 fours and two sixes. Extras (29) was the next highest score.

Jonty Oliver (4-28) was Hambledon’s leading wicket-taker with his second four-wicket haul of the season. His first - 4-18 - had also come against Fawley.

At present, the Dons are one of three teams contesting the two promotion slots. They currently top the table with an 18.75 points per game average, from Andover (17.46) and OTs & Romsey (17.23).

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A huge fixture with Andover is on the horizon - Hambledon travelling there on August 13.

De Villiers, meanwhile, needs 56 runs against lowly Hook 2nds next weekend to reach the 1,000 runs milestone.

That is a figure reached by only four men since Robin Smith - who went on to star for Hampshire and England - set a new Southern League run record of 1,015 for Trojans.

That was beaten twice in 2003, when South African Erasmus Hendriske - also playing for Trojans - hit 1,025 Division 3 runs. But that same year, Kiwi Neal Parlane set a new record with 1,074 for Totton-based BAT in the top flight.

Parlane’s record stood for just two years, before Prozesky topped it by just two runs.

Waterlooville’s outside promotion hopes were dented in a tense one-wicket defeat against Andover.

Asked to chase 208, Andover were still 33 runs adrift when their eighth wicket fell.

But No 10 John Nyumbu - who played two Tests for Zimbabwe in the 2010s - hit 17 off 15 balls, sharing a 30-run ninth wicket stand with Nathan Birks (35 not out).

That left last man Mike Adams to hit the winning run off the penultimate ball of the penultimate over. Charlie Ayers (45) top scored for the hosts.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, skipper Archie Reynolds (5) and opening partner Josh McGregor (6) were out cheaply.

No 3 Josh McCoy top scored with 55 before Jon Hudson (43 not out) and Tim Jackson (41) added 82 for the sixth wicket after Ville had tumbled to 91-5.

Elsewhere in the division, there was a remarkable last-over finish in the OTs v St Cross 2nds fixture.

Needing 228 for victory, OTs crashed from 226-6 to 227-9 by losing three wickets in three balls.

George O’Connor dismissed Lewis Allen with his third delivery, saw Harry Appleton run out off the fourth - after the batters had run a single - and then removed Augustus Flack with his fifth.

Last man Matthew Bampton faced the last ball - and promptly hit it the boundary to seal a dramatic one-wicket victory.

Former Love Island contestant Hugo Hammond blazed a career best 139 for Hartley Wintney against Bashley 2nds - and still finished on the losing side.

Hammond’s 95-ball knock - including 13 fours and six sixes - helped his side post an impressive 354 all out.

But Bashley had earlier romped to 372-6 with centuries from James Turner (117) and Ryan Taylor (106).