Another win as OT’s pull away

First published in Hampshire Sport

Old Tauntonians and Romsey made it four wins from their opening four matches to stretch into a five-point lead in the Southern Electric Premier League Division Three when they routed Havant Second XI by seven wickets at the Sports Centre on Saturday.

The Havant side chose to bat first on an overcast, cold afternoon watched by The Lord Brabourne and Vice-Presidents of the club.

It was a decision that proved costly as wickets tumbled from the very start.

Steve Smith and Jack Bransgrove, playing his first match of the season, bowled very tidily.

Andy Galliers drove Smith into the gully where Jon Dowling dived full length to take a catch and Graham Burns then misjudged a single and was run out by Danny Mills.

Simon Loat was bowled by Bransgrove and, at 12 for 3, it looked very difficult for the visitors.

After the openers had bowled their seven-over spells, Dowling and Stuart Shapland took over but there was no respite as wickets continued to tumble.

Gareth Ransley fell to a sharp catch from Shapland off the bowling of Dowling, followed soon after by Mike Reed – caught by the young Bransgrove at cover off Shapland.

Four wickets then fell with the score on 47. Simon Knott was the highest scoring Havant II player on 11 when he was trapped lbw by Shapland, Phil Loat was well caught by Nick Destefano off Dowling, Chris Wade gave him his third wicket and Ed Lowe became Shapland third clean bowled victim.

The final pair put on 20 runs – by far the largest partnership of the innings – before James Smallbone was cleaned up by Shapland, who finished with four wickets for seven runs.

Dowling bowled eight overs and took 3 for 28.

When OTs & Romsey started their chase for 68 to win, they lost an early wicket when Danny Mills was caught behind without scoring.

But in form Nick Destefano was in no mood to give his wicket away as he stayed throughout the innings for 31 not out.

Skipper Jody Brown contributed 18 after Gus Flack had departed for six, and the job was done, the match being over by 4pm.

It was a different story on Sunday when the Romsey side travelled to Havant Park to meet Havant First XI.

The Division One side was too strong for the fledgling OT’s & Romsey side, winning by a clear margin of 70 runs.

Havant won the toss and posted a formidable 170 for 8, former Hampshire player Richard Hincliffe scoring a quickfire half-century.

Stuart Shapland was the pick of the visiting bowlers with 2-14 in his allocated four overs.

Shapland again led the batting with 28 in 36 balls, Paul Longland with 16 stayed a while but the task was too much as the Romsey side fell well short, posting 100 off the last ball of their 20 overs.

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