Midhurst welcomed last year’s skipper Tim Powell for his first match of the season and handed 16-year-old Alex Cox, a product of Midhurst’s academy, a first-team debut when they hosted Lymington II in division one of the Hampshire League.
And both produced starring performances which, with assistance from Tom Atkins, enabled Midhurst to record an emphatic victory over Lymington at The Ruins.
It was a much-needed result after the disappointment of the previous week’s heavy loss.
Midhurst batted first with Steve May and Atkins opening, the under-fire Atkins needing runs after a string of low scores. May continued his rich form early on, hitting several boundaries – the best being a crushing on drive – before he gave up the ghost to mistimed pull shot.
This saw the introduction of the lycra-clad Graham Braithwaite, who showed early confidence punching anything short off the back foot for four.
But this was shortlived as Braithwaite got another jaffa which sent his off-stump cartwheeling out of the turf.
Powell and Atkins increased the run rate, Powell playing the aggressor and racing to 50.
Atkins perished for a watchful 84 but Powell continued, taking a liking to the leg-spin of Kelly and smashing 22 off one over.
Powell was caught on 97, just short of what would have been a well-deserved century.
Robbie Pearce provided impetus with a hard-hitting 30 and was well supported by the likes of Ollie Pearce and Chris Adams, who took Midhurst’s total to a challenging 289.
Captain Tim Dixon and talismanic all-rounder Powell led the way when Lymington batted with a disciplined opening spell. Powell picked up the key wicket of Kelly.
Dixon’s regimental line and length was impressive and he took one for seven off five overs. This new combination looked potent throughout on a batting-friendly pitch.
Ollie Pearce bowled with good pace and was rewarded as debutant Cox took a sharp chance at gully. Nalinda Premchandra bowled with control but Cox stole the show with four for 23. The young spinner beat the bat on several occasions and caused significant problems.
Midhurst’s showed good concentration in the field and bowled Lymington out for 132 in a victory inspired by Powell and Cox.
Captain Dixon said: “I was impressed by the performance of the whole team. Everyone contributed significantly. We need to take this attitude into the remaining matches.”
Midhurst visit Fareham & Crofton this week.
Midhurst seconds’ trip to Hook & Newnham Basics ended in a thrilling six-run win.
They were inserted on what looked a dreadful pitch. Simon Lush and Goodwin got off to a good start before Goodwin mistimed a pull. Gough played with a straight bat and left anything wide, while he watched Lush cut and pull anything short to all parts of the boundary.
At 105 for two Midhurst were well-placed but a total collapse ensued, including three needless run-outs. Lush battled his way to superb 80.
Apart from when they were facing the miserly Goodale, Hook scored freely at four an over. At 48 for two, they looked in control.
George Hardie had other ideas, though, as he took two good catches and three wickets with his leg-spin and single-handedly removed the middle order. Goodale and debutant Jordan Bates mopped up the tail.