Captain Watts leads New Milton CC home against Andover CC
Southern Premier League Division One
Andover CC 90
New Milton CC 91-5
A SUPERB captain's performance from George Watts kept the party going with a convincing five-wicket win over Andover, with most of the team still feeling the effects of New Milton veteran Ryan Beck's wedding celebrations.
After winning the toss and asking the home side to bat first, skipper Watts (17-3) once again made the early breakthrough, taking Sam Ashman's wicket with 10 runs on the board.
Watts' opening pace partner Ed Bartlett (27-2), who refrained from the celebration, was justifiably frustrated after watching two early chances dropped by the best man and the chief flower boy.
However, Bartlett and Watts, in tandem, eventually reduced the home side to 31-5. From then on, the visitors never took their foot off the gas.
Only a few lusty blows from Nathan Birks (26) and Brandon Smith (14) showed resistance against the green and gold bowling attack.
Once again, Harlan Greig (29-3), the league's second-highest wicket-taker with 25 for the season, and veteran seamer Dan Loader (13-2) were the other successful bowlers.
Toby Edwards, deputising behind the stumps, took four superb catches as Andover's innings ended abruptly in the 25th over after losing the last five wickets for only 14 runs to close all out on a paltry 90.
In reply, Milton lost their customary wicket in the first over after the brother of the groom Lee Beck gave catching practice to first slip for a duck.
Campbell Golding (16) played a few decent shots, but Andover seamer Babu Veettil (13-4) tried his best to get his side back in the game, taking four of the five wickets New Milton lost.
With New Milton faltering on 31-5, all-rounder Watts (27 not out) and Joe Hall (25 not out) put together an unbroken 60-run stand to take the visitors home with seven overs to spare, clinching a five-wicket win.
The champagne moment of the match was a superb catch from Loader at first slip off the bowling of Bartlett, which was the icing on New Milton's cake.
Milton's eighth win in 11 games keeps them in the title-hunt in second-place.