TOMORROW is a big day for north Hampshire cricket, with Basingstoke and North Hants meeting Hook and Newnham Basics in a league match for the first time.

I’ll be at the game, covering it live, over-by-over, on this very website – and I’m really looking forward to it.

Both teams are made up of really nice guys, but I’m not sure that will be immediately obvious in the heat of battle. Expect plenty of sledging and banter.

There’s already been a bit of needle between the sides this season.

With their opening game rained off, several members of the Hook team travelled down to Sarisbury to watch Basingstoke in action.

Ryan Connor, Basingstoke’s wind-up merchant in chief, had a quick chat with the Hook players, who said they were checking out the opposition.

“Sarisbury aren’t going to get relegated, are they?” came the reply from Connor, ensuring that he will face a couple of short balls if required to bat tomorrow.

Fingers crossed, nobody will take it too far, and we should be in for a prickly, but good natured afternoon of quality cricket.

The big question is, who will be celebrating at the close of play?

On paper, it’s hard to look beyond Basingstoke, who have won all of the games they have managed to complete this season, with all four of their victories coming away from home.

The weather looks okay for tomorrow, and assuming it stays that way, the Bountymen will be determined to maintain their 100 per cent record.

However, write Hook off at your peril. They have been one of the top teams in Southern League Division One for several seasons and plenty of good players.

If the weather stays fine, the match will be won by batsmen, and we could see some high scores.

Basingstoke have been batting pretty well. Chris Froud and Dan Coombs are consistent scorers, while all-rounders Andrew Niblett and Martyn James can score runs quickly from further down the order.

Hook will look to Jordan Hobday to give them a quick start, while the likes of Ben Thane and Matt Love will look to anchor the innings.

If I had to bet on the outcome, I’d probably edge towards the home side, mainly because I think they have a bowling attack capable of really frustrating the opposition.

It’s not been easy to take runs from James and Connor so far this season and if they keep it tight early on, Hook could be chasing the game.

I could very easily be wrong though. Either way, it should be a good game. If you fancy getting away from the World Cup for a few hours, head down to May’s Bounty tomorrow afternoon.

Alternatively, follow my live coverage from wherever you are. I’ll try to relay as much of the on-field banter as possible.

Basingstoke Gazette: world cup.jpg

Persuading my wife to watch the World Cup

I’m sure you’re all aware that the World Cup started yesterday. Not really sure how you couldn’t be in all honesty.

I love the World Cup, but my wife’s not so keen, so I have come up with a scheme aimed at getting her a bit more enthusiastic about the whole thing.

For every game that she agrees to watch with me, I’m going to give her the chance to take some money off of me.

She’s going to guess what she thinks the result might be. If she gets the score spot on, I’ll give her £5. If she gets the right result, I’ll give her £2.

You can follow her progress on Twitter @JBoymanGazette. It could turn out to be an expensive month.