Hampshire Academy tailenders send Havant slumping to amazing opening-day defeat in the Southern Premier Cricket League

Ethan Martin and Oli Cordery produced a near-century stand for the Hampshire Academy’s last wicket to hand Havant a stunning Southern Premier League opening-day defeat.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 8th May 2022, 1:19 pm

Chasing 177 for victory on The Ageas Bowl’s Nursery Ground, the Academy nosedived to 59-8 and later 79-9 with debutants Sonny Reynolds and Nick Ward among the wickets.

But last man Cordery, 15, sensationally helped Martin put on an unbroken 98 to leave the Academy celebrating a famous SPL Premier Division triumph. Martin - a Rowledge youngster currently on trial with the Academy as a seam bowler - ended unbeaten on 78 with Cordery undefeated on 32.

It seemed for all the world that Ben Walker would be leading Havant to victory in the first league game of his third spell as captain when Ethan Baker was ninth out, trapped leg before by Freddie Gadd with the fourth ball of the 28th over.

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Havant bowler Nick Ward took two early wickets on his SPL debut, but the Hampshire Academy claimed amazing Southern Premier League win. Picture by Alex Shute

Martin and Cordery - the latter a product of the Hambledon youth system - had other ideas. Not only did the teenage pair share a near-century partnership, they scored their runs at a fair rate - 98 off just 12.1 overs.

The first signs that the last-wicket pair weren’t just happy to block came in the 31st over, bowled by Reynolds. Fifteen were taken off that, with Martin hitting the last three deliveries to the boundary.

Veteran Richard Hindley, bowling the 35th over, conceded 18 runs off it - 17 of them to Martin, including sixes off the last two balls.

Another 15 came off the 38th over with Martin again helping himself to three boundaries.

A remarkable game ended in the 40th over, bowled by Ward. Cordery whacked the third ball for a six - his only one of the innings - with a leg bye taken off the next delivery. That left Martin facing the fifth ball, which he duly smacked for his 11th and final boundary of a memorable 56-ball innings. He also hit two sixes.

Cordery, whose previous highest score for the Academy was just seven, scored his runs off just 32 balls. In addition to his sole six, he struck three fours.

Havant can’t say they hadn’t known about Martin’s batting ability. In a pre-season friendly last month, he hit 69 against them playing for Hampshire Pathways Under-18s. Until yesterday, that was his highest score against a men’s team.

Prior to Martin and Cordery’s late-order heroics taking centre stage, Havant had been firmly in the box seat.

Ward - a University of Portsmouth student - dismissed both openers Tom Cheater (2) and Jude Wright (7) on his way to figures of 2-47.

New ball partner Richard Jerry (2-23) ripped off Dominic Kelly and skipper Joseph Eckland for ducks - the latter first ball - before ex-Academy seamer Reynolds (3-38), on as first change, made further inroads.

Havant, having won the toss, had been bowled out for 177 with teenager Charlie Whitefield - batting at No 6 - top scoring with 31 before he was dismissed by Louis Prichard (3-21). Harry Gadd (29) and No 9 Ward (27 not out) were next highest.

Walker, opening the batting, made just nine while top order batsman Chris Stone - playing his first competitive game since 2020 - was out for a single.