Purbrook CC skipper Sean Figgins: It’s an ‘odd decision’ to make our Southern Premier League games longer

Purbrook skipper Sean Figgins is unimpressed with the Southern Premier League’s decision to change the length of games.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 1:18 pm

Figgins’ side played 40-over matches last summer, but the league have reverted to 50-over games in 2022. Though matches will still start at 12.30pm, those going the distance will inevitably finish later.

And Figgins is not a fan. ‘It’s an odd decision, but I’m not in charge of that. People have other commitments, I don’t see the point of extending the day.

‘In terms of recreational cricket, extending the day is not going to get people playing. Going back to 50-over games is not ideal.’

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Purbrook skipper Sean Figgins Picture: Keith Woodland (050621-143)

Purbrook have lost all-rounder Martin Lee and batsman Clark Harding, who live in Sussex and the London area respectively and who have decided to cut down on their travelling.

All-rounder Josh McCoy is another departure, having stepped up a division to sign for Waterlooville.

McCoy started last season as skipper but Figgins - who made his debut for the club in the late 1990s - replaced him after a few weeks.

Due to poor player availability, Purbrook got off to a dismal start to their 2021 campaign, but once they could field stronger sides recovered to stay up.

Two former Purbrook players have returned to the club, all-rounder Sameen Mahboob and seam bowler Hamid Khan.

Both played for US Portsmouth last year - Mahboob was skipper - while their former Burnaby Road colleague Jahanzeb Habib, another seamer, has joined them.

Habib was USP’s player of the season and bowler of the season in 2021, taking 24 Hampshire League Division 3 South wickets. He can also swing the bat - witness his nine sixes in a remarkable 59 off just 17 balls against Cadnam last May!

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George Hamson has also returned to the club and will get batting opportunities, as will George Harradine.

‘Hopefully we’ll be competitive,’ said Figgins. ‘We’ll give people an opportunity to step up and show what they can do, see if they can show some responsibility.’

This is Figgins’ second stint as captain, having previously taken on the role during Purbrook’s Hampshire League days.

‘I was the most senior player, that was the reason for it,’ he stated when asked why he had resumed skippering duties from McCoy last year.

‘I was the obvious choice. I wouldn’t say I was the best choice, but I was the obvious one!’

Purbrook lift the curtain on the new season at home to Trojans.

*Elsewhere in Division 3, Portsmouth & Southsea are pretty much ‘as you were’ with regards to their playing squad.

Their only departure is top order batsman Ollie Kanavan, who compiled 461 SPL runs in 2019. He is spending a year working as an analyst for Cricket Ireland.

‘The squad is the right age now,’ said skipper Ben Saunders. ‘We were quite a young side before. Now we’ll try and push on and try to get promoted.

‘We brought in Max Goddard from Waterlooville last year, he was an experienced player we needed. He bats at 6 and bowls a tidy 10 overs in the middle of the innings.’

One batter certainly entering the new season in form is Jack Davies, who has struck unbeaten centuries in his last two P & S games.

First, he scored an unbeaten 112 in a friendly against Purbrook before hitting 101 not out in a Portsmouth Midweek League win against Locks Heath.

P & S will certainly be hoping for a drier start to this season than last; their first four games of the 2021 season all fell victim to damp weather.