Fresh from tying up their Dorset Indoor League U15 title 6 new forest lads have gone one better by coming out on top in the U16 Ageas Bowl Cup competition.   Lymington CC’s Josh Royan (c), Sway CC’s Daniel Bailey & Joshua  Bailey and Bashley (Rydal) CC’s Toby Mills, Sam Presland and Jack Harris (wk) have played together over the last 5 winter 
seasons as an indoor team. 

Competing under the West Hants name the forest boys saw off strong challenges from Parley CC and Basingstoke CC in their semi final round robin. This booked them a ticket to Cup final night to take on Hook Hurricanes and South Wilts both of whom they had narrowly lost to in excitingly tight finishes in earlier league games. 

First up were Hook who having chosen to bat were pegged back by the pace and variation of Royan (3-0-27-0) and the spin combination of J. Bailey (3-0-24-1) and Presland (3-0-25-0). But it was D. Bailey who took a good catch to dismiss the dangerous Wyatt off his brothers bowling and the momentum was maintained by two run outs involving Presland and an excellent all round performance in the field restricting Hook to 121-3.

When it was West Hants turn to bat Royan (retired 25 no) and Mills batted sensibly to build the platform  the team required. But when Mills went to the leg spinner Balcombe and D. Bailey (13) nicked one behind West Hants still needed 45 more to secure victory. Powerful hitting from J. Bailey (retired 27 no) and J Harris (25 no) took the game away from Hook with victory coming with 11 balls remaining.

In the second game West Hants again lost the toss with South Wilts opting to bat first. Despite the efforts of E Wade (37 no) South Wilts struggled to break the West Hants stranglehold. Royan (3-0-17-1) again proved hard to get away and Mills (2-0-14-0) was equally miserly. Spin twins J. Bailey (3-0-23-2) and D. Bailey (3-0-23-2) shared 4 wickets and identical figures and Harris completed an excellent evenings work with the gloves with a smart stumping as South Wilts finished on 94-5.   

With Presland going early and Harris mightily unfortunate to be run out at the non strikers end via a deflection it briefly looked as if West Hants might struggle towards the moderate total required. J Bailey (retired 25 no) took a while to find his earlier form but went to a second retirement of the night with a comprehensive six. After D. Bailey was bowled it was the reliable pairing of Royan (11 no), punching his way through the covers elegantly and Mills (retired 25 no) exercising great shot selection that saw West Hants home in the 10th over with 3 wickets down.

A fantastic team effort from the boys, playing a year up in an U16 competition. Fresh challenges lie ahead as they battle to make the final 4 of the Ageas league competition and the chance to compete in league finals night in March against many of the region’s top junior cricketing talents.