Southern Premier Cricket League legend Tom Morton makes winning start to Sarisbury career

Tom Morton hit a half century on his Sarisbury debutTom Morton hit a half century on his Sarisbury debut
Tom Morton hit a half century on his Sarisbury debut
Southern Premier League record breaker Tom Morton lifted the curtain on his new challenge with a half-century.

The South Wilts CC legend has signed for second tier club Salisbury, who are based near his home in Lower Swanwick.

And he ensured it was a winning start by opening the batting and top scoring with 56 as his new club extended Hambledon’s losing start to the SPL Division 1 campaign.

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Sarisbury will be hoping some of the Morton magic can propel them back into the top flight, where they spent one season in 2015.

Last season the 37-year-old set a new Premier Division record by scoring 1,217 runs, and in all compiled over 11,500 runs for South Wilts with 29 centuries.

One of those tons was scored against Sarisbury in a T20 Cup tie in 2015 - exactly 100 not out off 61 balls.

In the Sarisbury side that day was Ricky Rawlings, who was Morton’s opening partner against Hambledon.

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Asked to chase 191 for victory, Sarisbury were looking comfortable on 108-2 thanks to Morton, Cameron Grierson (36) and Rawlins (22).

Ex-Hampshire spinner Ian Turner then struck twice in as many balls, sending back Grierson and Jaidel Richardson. And Sarisbury were sweating when 145-4 quickly became 159-8, with Morton the sixth to go.

But tailenders Jordan Wright and Kegan Holzmann settled nerves with an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 32.

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Wright wan’t hanging around, hitting two sixes and two fours in his unbeaten 23 off just 11 balls, while Holzmann finished 11 not out as Sarisbury won with 12 overs and two balls to spare.

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That meant a sixth successive SPL loss for Hambledon, who arrived in the second tier after back-to-back title wins.

Electing to bat first at Ridge Meadow, opener Henry Glanfield (45) and captain Spencer Le Clercq (36) top scored as they posted 190-9 off their 50 overs.

Though they have lost all their games, Hambledon aren’t bottom - New Milton have also suffered six straight defeats and occupy the wooden spoon position.

Sarisbury are fourth in the log, 16 points behind leaders Basingstoke & North Hants in a division where only the champions are promoted.

With that in mind, next weekend’s trip to May’s Bounty is a huge fixture for Morton and his new colleagues.

Additional reporting: Mike Vimpany