South African overseas signing De Villiers makes instant impact as Hambledon make winning start to new Southern Premier Cricket League season

Matt De Villiers made an instant debut as Hambledon began where they left off - winning a Southern Premier League match.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:59 am

The Dons romped to the Division 3 title last season, with the best points-per-game average of any club across the four divisions.

And with South African overseas batter De Villiers now on board, they sent out an early message to the rest of the Division 2 clubs with victory over Fair Oak.

The 21-year-old spent the winter scoring runs for Cape Town outfit Claremont - 627 at 41.80. And he was close to a debut century in Hambledon’s 51-run win.

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Hambledon skipper Spencer Le Clercq, left, and new overseas signing Matt De Villiers after sharing a 151-run stand in their side's opening-day victory over Fair Oak.

Batting at No 4, De Villiers hit nine fours and two sixes in a 77-ball 89 before he was run out. But not before he had shared a 151-run partnership for the fourth wicket with skipper Spencer Le Clercq (67 not out).

The captain hit four fours in his 97-ball innings as Hambledon posted 263-5 off their 50 overs at Ridge Meadow. It was Le Clercq’s second highest SPL innings, beaten only by his 70 against Fareham & Crofton in a Division 3 fixture three years ago.

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The hosts had been given a 77-run start by Dan McGovern (41) and George Marshall (35) after Le Clercq had elected to bat first.

Ben Harding (2-31) struck twice as Fair Oak crumpled to 19-3 in reply, before Joseph McNeeney (56) and Harry Reed (38) led a fightback by adding 107 for the fourth wicket.

De Villiers ended that partnership before George Harding made further inroads, Fair Oak slumping to 153-8.

Smith, batting at No 10, hit a breezy 33 off 21 balls before the innings was wrapped up when he was dismissed by George Harding (4-35).