Title triumph makes it a dream farewell for Basingstoke and North Hants captain (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Title triumph makes it a dream farewell for Basingstoke and North Hants captain Dan Coombs
BASINGSTOKE and North Hants were crowned champions of cricket’s Southern League Division Two in their first ever season in the competition after another crushing victory at May’s Bounty on Saturday.
The Bountymen made sure they completed a 100 per cent record on home soil as Paultons were the last side to be put the sword, beaten by 123 runs.
It meant that jubilant Basingstoke captain Dan Coombs signed off his time with his home town team in true style before heading to Australia later this month.
Coombs said: “This caps a brilliant year for us and I think we have proved we are the best team, having beaten everyone and won a lot of games by over 100 runs or eight wickets.
“It has been a big team effort and everyone has played their part at some point to make sure we can enjoy this moment of winning the league.”
He added: “When we joined this league this season our aim was always to win, but that is never easy and you have to perform consistently all year, which is what we have done.”
Basingstoke suffered just two defeats all year, but Coombs believes the first one in only the second week of the campaign at Calmore Sports could well have been a blessing in disguise.
The Bountymen skipper said: “Losing at Calmore was a wake-up call for us and then after that we just went a really good winning run which took us to the title.”
Another big game in the season was the victory at Totton and Eling as Coombs said: “We were set to lose that game, but fought back really well to take the win. That was important as it was the week before we played our title rivals Hursley Park for the first time. Winning that game opened up the gap at the top.”
The final game of the season ended like so many this year, with a big Basingstoke victory after visiting Paultons were set a target of 252 for victory.
Martyn James (3-22) made the early inrodes and then a superb hat-trick from Ryan Connor (3-24) stopped the New Forest side’s reply in its tracks.
It was then left to leading wicket taker for the season Dave Pistorius (3-23) to take the final three wickets.
Earlier, the home side’s top order batsman failed to fire and it looked like they would be unable to set a decent total to defend.
However, thanks to a half-century from Matt Thankachan and an unbeaten last wicket partnership from Connor (41) and Pistorius (21) they reached 251-9.
Talking about the last win of the season, Coombs said: “We made it hard for ourselves, but Matt, Ryan and Dave helped us push the score to a total that I would back us to defend every day with our bowling attack – and that proved to be the case.”
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