Matt Benfield breaks his own Portsmouth & Southsea batting record in seventh straight Southern Premier League victory

Matt Benfield smashed his own record for the highest innings ever recorded by a Portsmouth & Southsea batter in the Southern Premier League.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 12:58 pm

The opener cracked an unbeaten 148 as P & S underlined their promotion credentials with a seventh successive Division 3 victory.

A 27-run win over Langley Manor sees P & S 28 points clear of Sway at the top of the table, while they are now 39 points clear of third place Langley - the top two go up automatically.

Benfield was already on 47 not out when No 4 Jack Davies joined him with the score on 90.

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Matt Benfield struck a SPL record 148 not out for Portsmouth & Southsea in their victory over Langley Manor. Picture: Keith Woodland

The pair added 163 for the third wicket before Davies - the leading runscorer in the SPL fourth tier this season - departed after hitting seven fours and four sixes in a 55-ball 74.

There was no stopping Benfield, though, who ended two short of his 150 after cracking 18 fours and three sixes off 145 balls at St James after P & S had elected to bat.

It was a great return to form for Benfield, whose previous highest league score in 2022 had been 26. It was also club record SPL best knock, beating his 136 against Purbrook in 2020.

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Benfield’s career best, though, remains the 151 he scored in a Hampshire League game five years ago.

As for Davies, he now has 384 league runs this season at 93.00 - Benfield is now 10th with 199.

In reply, Jack Budd - the division’s top scorer in 2021 - hit 67 at the top of the Langley order.

Steve Harris (58) and Conor Browne (47) - the latter is the second highest runscorer (325) in the division after Davies - were also in the runs as their side closed on 246-9.

Benfield (2-37) was one of four P & S bowlers to take two wickets, alongside Keiron Dunstan (2-30), Jono Willey (2-41) and Ben Saunders (2-46).

David Steadman belted a century as Sway claimed a fifth win in seven games to remain second.

Promoted from the Hampshire League last summer, the New Forest side have adapted well to life in the SPL.

It has been some rise, too, bearing in mind they were playing in Division 4 South of the Hampshire League as recently as 2015.

That was the year Steadman smacked a career best 160 against Gosport Borough 2nds, and his 127 in the large win against Basingstoke & North Hants was his highest league score since then.

Steadman struck 12 fours and five sixes in his 121-ball innings as Sway rattled up 325-8.

Will Crossley hit 73 and former England under-19 international Hugh Bernard whacked 63 off just 32 balls.

Bernard then bagged 4-24 as Basingstoke were dismissed for 129 to lose by 196 runs.

Now 25, Bernard played alongside Test players Matt Parkinson and Haseeb Hameem for England Under-19s in 2015. Current Hampshire batter Aneurin Donald was another of his international colleagues.

Bernard - now the joint top wicket-taker in the SPL fourth tier with 15 - went on to play just one first match for Kent prior to being released in 2017.