Dons have a hoot at Paultons

Hambledon second team's fine start to the season continued with victory over Paultons II in Hampshire League division three south.

On the road for the first time this season, skipper Rhidian Chapman called for more from his unbeaten Dons.

Conditions looking good for a bat as Chapman and his opposite number strode out for the toss.

And after winning his third toss in a row, the skipper elected to have first use of the wicket.

A new opening partnership of Jack Lavous and Mark Le-Clercq strode out to get the Dons under way and they soon reached 29 without loss after four overs.

Lavous was the first to fall - somewhat unluckily after the keeper deflected the ball back onto stumps with his tally on 15.

In strode Jamie Lewis to join the chairman at the crease and the pair put on 40 for the second wicket before Lewis drove one straight down mid-off's throat for 16.

After a good start the Dons needed to reconcile and rebuild the innings. Owain Chapman grafted hard and Le-Clercq knocking the ball around calmly.

A good 70 partnership between the two saw the chairman hit the 50 milestone for a third week in a row before failing to the clear long off with a hit over the top on 64.

This saw the high-flyer Jack Dyer come to the crease looking to impress but after some lovely cover drives picked out the fielders, frustration grew for young Dyer and he was dragged out of his crease and stumped for 0.

Adrian Magrath also failed to give the scorers much trouble as he chopped on for six before Ioeseph Farrell played some nice shots before falling for five.

Time for Kyle Shinn and Spencer Le-Clercq - with only a few wickets in hand. But disaster struck as the latter was also bowled for just two and the Dons looked like falling short of a decent total.

Time for a captain's innings then and with eight overs to go Shinn and Chapman looked to knock the ball around and run hard.

At 170 for eight, few risks could be taken but Paultons failed to grab their chances and let the Dons off the hook.

Chapman and Shinn started to hit the ball with ease, putting on a partnership just shy of 50. The latter succumbed with three balls to go but he contributed a vital 24 for the team.

Georgeous George Harding, still reeling from earlier banter, came in with two balls to go. A two down the ground and run out next ball meant the Dons finished just one run short of maximum batting points with Chapman 31 not out.

With Paultons set 225 for the win, there were plenty of confident Dons at tea.

Shinn opened the bowling from the pavilion end but he made a disastrous start with two boundaries in the first over. he carried on in much the same vain, too, with lots of dots but too many bad balls in a spell of nine for 18 from three.

By contrast, Chapman was swinging in wildly - only going for one run from his first four overs.

The early change saw last week's hero come back for a spell and with Lewis and the skipper in tandem, the Dons starting to build pressure without finding a breakthrough.

Chapman called it a spell after eight overs for eight runs and no wicket and then Lewis grabbed the first wicket - 18 overs in - as Paultons went from 30 without loss off six over to 59 for one off 18.

Harding meanwhile toiled away at the other end and at drinks Paultons were 84 for one and still looking in command.

More inspirational words from the skipper at drinks and again Harding stood up for the cause, trapping the other opener leg before wicket for 49.

He completed his spell of 33 for one if six overs - but with a crucial wicket again

Paultons then formed another partnership and while the Le-Clercqs were now bowling well together the opposition still looked strong at 139 for two from 33.

Fortunes changed as the Dons then took five wickets for 14 runs in five overs, including a sharp run out from long off.

Game won it was now about the bowling points and more Domination from the Le-Clercqs as they ripped through the remaining batsmen.

Le-Clercq senior finished with four for 31 from nine overs and junior took two for 34 in his six.

Paultons were eventually all out 55 runs shy of the Hambledon total.

Dons skipper Chapman said: 'Super work in the field from the young Dons. Chances taken and good energy with cool heads throughout.'