Party time for Purbrook
Purbrook were partying long into yesterday morning after clinching promotion to the Southern League.
Martin Lee’s side secured second place in Hampshire League division one with a convincing 56-run victory over Hook & Newnham Basics II at The Heath.
And the skipper and his team were determined to make the most of it.
‘My wife and I walked back home from the club about 4am,’ said Lee.
‘I have pretty well lost my voice but winning promotion is something that hasn’t happened in a while, so we had plenty to celebrate.
‘We have been building towards this in the last few years and have finally realised our potential.
‘When I took over three years ago we were a very young and inexperienced side.
‘Since then we have gained more experience, learned how to play and what to do to win games.
‘This season it has all come to fruition.
‘When we made a good start we thought it might be on.
‘As the season went on there was more and more talk about promotion.
‘We managed to get ourselves up to second and our rivals weren’t able to stay with us.
‘The key has been greater consistency.
‘There has not been one stand-out player – everybody has chipped in at some stage.
‘John Moller has scored 500 runs but two others are in the 400-run bracket and three have more than 300.
‘Player of the year Aaron Dean has taken 38 wickets and scored 300 runs.
‘On his day he is probably the quickest bowler in our league.’
Purbrook started their final game knowing four points would be enough to guarantee promotion.
Lee won the toss and opted to bat first – knowing 175 runs would see them get the points they needed.
Brad Mengham (53) got them off to a good start but there were a few wobbles when they slipped to 120 for five.
However, Sean Figgins (50) came in and helped guide Purbrook to the magic number.
‘We had a little celebration then because it took all the pressure off,’ said Lee.
The home side eventually got up to 245, which the skipper regarded as a good score on the wicket.
That proved to be the case and the home side were jubilant at the end.
‘For the time being we will enjoy the moment,’ said Lee.
‘Then we will start to think about the big challenge ahead.
‘We only have two or three players who have any experience of Southern League cricket.
‘Maybe we will be able to get two or three players in.
‘Whatever happens, after all the hard work put in to get there we will want to make sure we stay.’
Portsmouth & Southsea, who also had hopes of promotion, had to settle for fourth spot after a 137-run win at New Milton II.
Matt Benfield enjoyed a field day as he hit 151 – his highest ever score – and then took three for 27 for star with the ball.
Jack Davies (38) and Steve Clements (40) gave Portsmouth & Southsea a dream start by notching 75 runs in the first 15 overs.
When Benfield arrived at the crease he maintained the tempo as a further 61 was put on for the second wicket.
Debut-making Oliver Kanavan (50) made an instant impression and along with Benfield added a mother 146.
The visitors closed their innings on 317 for five.
The home side were never in the hunt as Jake Peach, Kieron Dunstan and Tom Benfield all grabbed a couple of wickets.