NEW Milton captain Ryan Beck insisted spin sensation Nick Elliott would keep his feet on the ground after carving his name in the Southern Premier League hall of fame.
Elliott rewrote the record books when his eight-wicket haul against Bournemouth on Saturday saw him return the best individual bowling figures in Division One history.
He became only the second player in the competition to take eight wickets, his eight for 24 eclipsing Dave Wheeler’s eight for 36 – for New Milton against Bournemouth seconds in 2010.
Elliott, who took his combined figures for the season to 19-68, reduced the Lions from 79 for two to 107 all out as leaders New Milton maintained their 100 per cent winning start with a three-wicket victory.
Skipper Beck told the Daily Echo: “He was different gravy and his performance won us the game. In Nick and George Watts, we are fortunate to have two young lads who are bowling very well.
“We need them to bowl well for the whole season, not just the first half. I know Nick has set his sights on 30 wickets and that would be a great achievement.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet what he has achieved and what he could achieve but I know he will keep his feet on the ground because he is that type of lad.”
Elliott, 20, made his SPL debut for Lymington as a teenager before switching camps to link up with his older brothers Ryan and Lee Beck at New Milton.
Ryan Beck added: “I know people at Lymington put a lot of time into his cricket and, when it came to first-team cricket, I think he was thrown in at the deep end and maybe they didn’t look too closely into his bowling, which is his real asset.
“I didn’t pressurise him into coming to New Milton until he hadn’t been getting a fair crack of the whip at Lymington because we had to get him bowling. We want to keep him and will back whatever he does. We want to win the league and you need to keep your best players to do that.”
Despite losing both Dave Kidner and Jake Hurley to George Watts (2-16), Bournemouth were thankful to a third-wicket stand of 69 between Martin Miller (23) and Brad Schmulian (43) for taking them to 79 for two.
However, the introduction of Elliott sparked their collapse, the spinner proving virtually unplayable as he sliced through Bournemouth’s fragile batting line-up with the hosts losing their final eight wickets for the addition of just 28 runs.
Bournemouth old boys James Park (30) and Mark House (19) took New Milton within sight of the winning post before they crossed the line with five overs in hand, despite the best efforts of Schmulian (2-14) and Mike Kitson (2-35).
Ryan Beck said: “I know we got them for seven down but I didn’t think that was a true reflection. If you win every game of the season, it doesn’t matter about victory margins.
“Credit to Bournemouth because they were the best bowling side we had come up against this season and they played it hard. It was a good win for us.”
Gracious-in-defeat Bournemouth skipper Martin Miller hailed the exploits of Elliott after he had become the young spinner’s first victim.
The Lions captain told the Daily Echo: “He bowls with a flat trajectory and very consistently. He bowls a very consistent line and clearly gives it a rip. He is the sort of bloke everybody would want in their team and he looks a really good spinner.
“He didn’t bowl a length where you could easily get down the pitch and, on a turning wicket, he is one of those guys you just have to see off and take on the next bloke. We didn’t manage to do that.”
Bournemouth, who headed to New Milton on the back of successive wins over Hook and Andover, collapsed from a promising 79 for two to 107 all out before the hosts reached their target for the loss of seven wickets.
Miller added: “I am full of praise for our bowling and fielding, we have a really good attack and I have always known that if we could stick a score on the board, which we did against Andover, we have the ability to take wickets.
“I am very pleased with that aspect of our game. What we are not doing it putting a decent enough score on the board to give that side of our game the opportunity to prosper.”