Top performance of the season so far is a big lift for Portsmouth & Southsea

KEIRON DUNSTAN was thrilled with the way his Portsmouth & Southsea side saw off fellow Hampshire League division one high-fliers Hook & Newnham Basics seconds.

Monday, 11th July 2016, 6:45 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:20 pm
Tom Benfield played a key role for Portsmouth & Southsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman (160902_8111)

With both teams in the top four at the start of play, a hard-fought encounter was expected and that proved to be the case.

In the end, hosts Portsmouth & Southsea took the honours with a three-wicket win after restricting Hook to 266 for eight.

‘It was a fantastic game and a great win for us,’ said Portsmouth & Southsea captain Keiron Dunstan.

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‘Both teams were very competitive and they are probably the best team we have played this summer.

‘To win it we had to put in our best performance of the season.

‘They had us under the cosh for a lot of their first innings and at one point it looked like we would be chasing 300 runs or more.

‘We managed to peg them back in the last 12 overs, though still ended up conceding the most runs in a game this season.

‘Despite that, with the wicket playing so well we always felt we had a chance of chasing it down.’

Hook made an excellent start to their innings and it looked ominous when they put on 115 in 27 overs for their second wicket.

When they added another 72 in the following eight overs there was a danger the visitors could take the game away from Dunstan’s team.

The fact they failed to push their score up around the 300-run mark was largely down to Jonno Willey.

Willey, who had opened the bowling, returned for a second spell and took three wickets for seven runs in the space of seven balls.

‘Jonno (Willey) came over from South Africa when he was 19 or 20 years old and is probably our quickest bowler,’ said Dunstan.

‘He is one of the first names on the teamsheet each week.

‘When he first came he was a bit of a raw talent but he has fine tuned his bowling since then.’

With the wicket playing fast, true and straight Dunstan was backing his players to chase the target down.

When they slipped to 80 for three, however, some doubts crept in.

But Tom Benfield, who hit 88, and Matt Smith, who fired 70, went on to produce a match-winning partnership of 155 off 22 overs.

They put the hosts into a winning position, though there was still time for some late drama.

The loss of three quick wickets for 10 runs in the space of a couple of overs set the nerves jangling.

In the end, though, the home side held their nerve with Matt Williams and Willey getting them over the line with 15 balls remaining.

The win keeps Dunstan’s team in third place as they chase promotion

The top two go up, with Alton II currently top and Purbrook second.