Portsmouth’s cricketers arrived at Southampton at 9am in jovial spirits, with play to commence with the terrace packed with Portsmouth fans in full voice.
In spite of these high levels of exuberance, it was to prove a tough day in the Southampton Sports Hall as Southampton cruised to a 3-0 victory overall, thanks to some tricky bowling and sensible batting, something all of our teams were affected by.
The 2nds opened up the trio of games, and despite the best efforts of Tim Higgs and Zo Hassan, who both bowled economically in the middle overs, Southampton reached a highly respectable score of 154 from their 12 overs. Portsmouth struggled in reply to this target, with wickets tumbling at a consistent rate, leaving them 60 all out.
After a brief intermission following the Men’s 2nds game came the Women’s opportunity to shine. Openers Emily Jones and Sophie Lewis took to the crease, beginning well with some solid batting from the talented Jones.
Jones was instrumental for Portsmouth, scoring an impressive 50 out of her team’s total of 126 runs, creating a respectable innings. In the field, after a strong start with some economical bowling, Southampton edged towards their target in spite of losing two wickets in two deliveries after notable bowling displays from both Jones and Samantha Miles.
It was a valiant effort from Portsmouth’s Women and one that was appreciated by their verbal supporters, none more so than Mr. Weller.
Finally it was over to the Men’s 1st team to try and regain some pride. After James Wright opened the bowling with some rapid pace bowling, Tom Sambrook steamed in to clean up the Southampton opener with the very first ball of the second over; cue wild celebrations. However, Portsmouth allowed Southampton to become too comfortable, as the home side began to settle, with two 6s meaning that one of their batsmen had to retire after reaching 25 runs.
Two 7th over wickets gave Portsmouth the impetus to plough through the Southampton batsmen. Wright and Sambrook continued to cause problems with pacey full and straight deliveries, before Sambrook himself took two catches from the bowling of Barney Atkins, leaving the innings over with the score at a decent looking 138.
Openers Manro and Atkins set about attaining Portsmouth’s target, finding themselves at 24-1 from 2 overs. Enter Sambrook, who batted sensibly whilst the wickets of Atkins and then Wright fell at the other end, leaving Portsmouth in a spot of trouble at 64-3 from 6 overs. Oldershaw was then run out, with Sambrook left at the other end wondering how he had just lost three batting partners in such quick succession, whilst Southampton appeared merciless and smelling blood.
As Sambrook was then run out, Wicket-keeper David Ramsden was left to face the Southampton onslaught on his own, with a seemingly unattainable task of needing 40 runs to win. However, Ramsden heroically took the game down to the wire, taking the game into its last over, with 19 left to win, before being unluckily bowled off his pads, meaning a third and final victory in this Varsity battle for Southampton. However, this was still not enough to dishearten the immense Pompey following, who sang long into the night.