HUNGRY LIKE A WOOLFE
View From Silly Point by Jamie (Mitch) Mitchell
Pompey 2s continued their scarcely believable unbeaten start to the season, with a narrow 3 widget, apologies, wicket* win at the pleasant surrounds of Odiham & Greywell.
The combination of blue skies, quick outfield, a green pitch, and a spin-heavy bowling attack, made it fiendishly difficult to decide whether to bat or bowl first. Stand-in "tosser" (quotations may not be necessary) Lee Hungerford would have been relieved to have called wrong, and having done so, the hosts elected to bat first.
Armed with just one quickie on a deck offering early assistance, Henry Woolfe emerged from the growbag within which he's been sleeping this winter, and shouldered the responsibility of being the sole seamer more than admirably. The yard or two of pace gained in the off-season certainly discomforted the home side's top order, claiming 3 for 11 from his seven-over opening burst.
Crucially, he didn't get the opportunity to square up to Odiham's overseas recruit, who was fed a diet of spin bowling, and he helped himself like Fred Gardner at the leftover tea.
With the score on 138 for 4 after 30 overs, and Odiham's overseas had raced into the 70s, concerns over a hefty run chase were edging towards reality, when the game's major turning point took place.
Despite many believing that the pivotal moment was the gentle regulation catch dropped by Jamie Mitchell at mid off, it was Lee Hungerford's waist-high full bunger at the home side's Big Fish. As everyone in attendance expected the ball to be deposited into nearby Hook, Odiham's overseas managed to slap it towards Pompey's most athletic fielder, Tom Wallis, who made some good ground to take a seriously smart catch on the leg side boundary.
From there, it was Pompey-at-Ferndown-esque procession, as the remaining Odiham batsmen were seen off for an under par 185 - Lee Hungerford taking 2 for 54, Scott Dale 1 for 29, and Paul Hungerford 3 for 32.
Post-tea saw a much more combative Odiham outfit set out to defend their modest total. Skipper Nicky Wyatt was "Micky H'd" early, and last week's centurion, Wallis, was on the wrong end of a mix up with Mitchell, while Arjun Patel's desire to get home for the Champions League Final got the better of him, leaving the visitors on Anthony Joshua-like legs, at 53 for 3.
A partnership of 65 between Mitchell and Dave Henderson helped to remove fingernails from teeth in the away dressing room, before the former departed for 64, and the latter had a wee brain fade in running out Dale without facing a ball. Henderson then carved one into the point fielder's mitts on 37, and once again Pompey could feel the ropes against their back, with 54 runs still required.
A couple as odd as the President Orange Panda and the First Lady, Paul Hungerford and Henry Woolfe combined for 31 runs to ease Pompey's score onto 162, before the Portchy southpaw's 30-run cameo came to an end.
With 3 wickets in hand to knock off 14 runs, Lee Hungerford replaced his brother, and tallied fewer runs than the number of opposition players he managed to antagonise, crabbing an unbeaten 3. Hungerford's efforts at Portsmouth-Odiham relations proved to be the Trojan Horse that enabled Woolfe to see Pompey home with just under 5 overs to spare - his mature and assured 28 not out bookending a fine allround afternoon.
A return to home sweet home await Pompey's finest, as they welcome newly-promoted Winton to St Helens.
*A tad self indulgent, but a lady at work made the terminological error when quizzing me about cricket this week. I found it too funny to not include it in this week's write-up.