Skipper Duggan so close to a century as Portsmouth surge to top of embryonic Southern Premier League Division 1 table with victory over Liphook

Ben Duggan was left within a boundary of his third century for Portsmouth in the Southern Premier League.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 15th May 2022, 9:18 am

The captain struck an unbeaten 96 at the top of the order as the city club surged to the top of the embryonic Division 1 table with a second successive win.

Duggan shared an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 123 with wicket-keeper Sujeeth Daini, who compiled an undefeated half-century on his 1st XI debut, as Portsmouth sealed a seven-wicket triumph in the 42nd over.

Daini was only playing because Richard Warner - who had kept wicket (and top scored with 84) in the opening day win against Sparsholt - was out through injury.

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Ben Duggan on his way to an unbeaten 96 against Liphook. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 140522-41)

Duggan hit 16 boundaries in his 111-ball knock, while there were seven in Daini’s 106-ball innings.

Daini had struggled for runs in 2021, making just 45 in 10 innings for Portsmouth 2nds in the Hampshire League with a top score of 11.

But it’s a totally different story this year.

Daini hit an unbeaten 94, at the top of the order, in his first pre-season friendly, skippering Portsmouth 2nds against Havant 2nds. He followed that up with 50 retired out in his second friendly against Waterlooville 2nds.

Ben Duggan hits out on his way to 96 against Liphook.

Asked to chase 183 for victory in the St Helens sunshine, Duggan lost opening partner Matt Shaw (13) at 37.

James Mitchell (0) and Dan Wimble (5) also fell cheaply before Daini strode to the crease.

Portsmouth player-coach Steven Warner had earlier bagged 4-26 as Liphook were dismissed for 182 in the 48th over.

There was a big collapse from the visitors, who had progressed to 141-2 following a 131-run stand for the third wicket between keeper Harry Munt (70) and George Neave (57).

Sujeeth Daini on his way to a 1st XI debut half-century. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 140522-42)

The partnership was finally broken by Wimble, the sixth bowler used by Duggan, who had Neave trapped leg before.

Liphook’s 141-2 quickly became 144-5 once Rakshith Rao had dismissed Joe Randell and Wimble (2-18) had accounted for Richard Covey – both batters facing just two balls, both failing to score and both trapped leg before.

Seizing the moment, Duggan brought Warner back into the attack and 151-5 quickly became 157-8 as the former South Wilts seamer picked up three quick wickets.

Reuben McArdle, who had begun the league campaign with a career best six wicket haul, claimed the last two Liphook wickets to fall to end with 2-29.

Liphook celebrate Matt Shaw's dismissal. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

*Sri Lankan batsman Dineth Thimodya could be bad news for Division 1 bowlers this summer if his second innings for Ventnor is anything to go by.

The 25-year-old hammered eight sixes and 17 fours in smashing 151 off 112 balls as the Isle of Wight club posted 294 at Steephill against Sparsholt.

Opening the innings, Thimodya was instantly on the attack - opening bowler Ash Lovell conceding 57 runs off his five overs.

Sparsholt also had a centurion when they replied, Jeremy Frith hitting 115, but they fell 43 runs short.

Thimodya had made an impact in pre-season, hitting an unbeaten 103 on debut in a friendly against Anglos United. There were 13 fours and fixes in that 58-ball century.

He followed that up with 89 in his second game, a midweek friendly against Worcester Park. He was batting at No 8 on that occasion!

Portsmouth opener Matt Shaw. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Portsmouth's Dan Wimble is caught behind. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Liphook celebrate a wicket. Picture: Chris Moorhouse