Portsmouth’s 100 per cent start to Southern Premier League season is shattered as new Basingstoke & North Hants captain impresses – Sarisbury’s winning run is also ended by Calmore Sports

New skipper Ashley Neal impressed with bat and ball as Portsmouth’s 100 per cent start to their Southern Premier League season was ended.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 3:18 pm

Neal was skippering Basingstoke & North Hants for the first time in a Division 1 fixture after Dan Belcher had resigned following the previous week’s 96-run defeat against Rowledge.

Neal - son of Andy Neal, a former player at the Southsea-based South Hants Touring Club - was second top scorer with the bat and also took four-wickets in his side’s 78-run romp at May’s Bounty.

Free of the responsibilities of captaincy, Belcher top scored with 43 in a consistent top order performance as the hosts totalled 236-9 after being inserted.

Jacob Harris hit 44 not out for Sarisbury and took an early wicket, but Calmore Sports still won in their Southern Premier League fixture at Allotment Road. Picture: Keith Woodland

Ashley Neal hit 37 while his brother Bradley struck six fours in a 24-ball 36.

Third change Dan Wimble (4-52) was Portsmouth’s most successful bowler.

In reply, Jake Fincken (2-41) reduced the visitors to 18-2 with the dismissals of opener James Mitchell (10) and James Christian (1).

Opener/captain Ben Duggan (28) helped progress the innings to 97-4, whereby Portsmouth lost three more wickets for just nine runs.

It was always going to be a huge uphill task from there on.

Wicket-keeper Sujeeth Daini (34) and No 9 Ashan Silva (34) both offered resistance. But with Ashley Neal bagging 4-26, Portsmouth were bowled out for 158 with 11 overs and one ball remaining.

Sarisbury, like Portsmouth, saw their 100 per cent start to the second tie season shattered.

After winning their first two games, they suffered a five-wicket loss to Calmore Sports at Allotment Road.

Following a dismal start, it was two of Sarisbury’s close season signings that rescued them.

Ben Fisher (5-37) had torn through the top order, reducing the hosts to 26-4.

But Nathan Feltham, who has arrived from Paultons, continued his fine batting form by top scoring at No 6.

After hitting 40 not out and 64 not put his first two SPL innings for his new side, Feltham clubbed five sixes and four fours in hitting 69 off 84 balls.

Jacob Harris, a close season signing from two divisions lower Gosport Borough, hit an unbeaten 44 off 38 balls batting at No 8. And with Rob Franklin making 37, Sarisbury were able to post 212-8.

Harris (2-36) and new ball partner, Australian Ronan DeGrussa (2-31), took a wicket each as Calmore slumped to 14-2.

Opener Ben Johns - the hero of Calmore’s National Village Cup final win at Lord’s last year - and Shawn Johnson (41) hit back with a stand of 104 for the third wicket.

Johns went on to hit 78 with Salisbury not helping themselves by conceding 26 wides in a total of 38 extras.

Portsmouth and Sarisbury are two of six sides in Division 1 with two wins and a defeat.

Ventnor remain top despite a high-scoring loss at Liphook & Ripsley.

Martin Blackman struck 118 as Ventnor posted 259-4. And that looked like being enough until No 8 Andy Barnes lashed an unbeaten 36 off just 16 balls to give his side a three-wicket win with eight deliveries remaining.

Barnes and skipper Sean Burton (6 not out) took 14 off the 47th over and another 21 off the 48th, with Barnes hitting two sixes and a four off the final three balls of the latter over.