UMPIRES at Lymington’s Southern Premier League t20 Cup clash with Hartley Wintney were calling for “new balls, please” as Darren Cowley cut loose in vintage fashion on Sunday.
Cowley rewrote the competition record books by plundering a 35-ball century – his second 50 coming off just 12 deliveries, including two dot balls – as Lymington coasted into the semi-final.
The big-hitting 37-year-old cracked 11 towering sixes and nine fours on his way to piling up an undefeated 108 before being forced to retire hurt after pulling a hamstring.
Cowley peppered the boundary at Lymington Sports Ground, his exploits resulting in a number of balls being lost into nearby gardens, a churchyard and the courtyard of a doctor’s surgery.
Hapless Hartley Wintney were powerless to stop the carnage as a sizeable crowd was treated to one of the most explosive knocks in recreational cricket history although the visitors did show their appreciation by magnanimously joining in the applause as Cowley hobbled off the pitch.
Lymington’s 232 for four (Damien Mortimer 40, Ben Rogers 36) never looked in danger as Hartley Wintney were dismissed for just 88, the hosts winning by 144 runs.
The semi-final draw, which is due to take place later today, will see Lymington joined by holders South Wilts, Havant and Sarisbury Athletic. The final takes place at the Ageas Bowl in August.
New Milton booked a place in the semi-final of the SPL t20 Plate thanks to a 48-run victory over Langley Manor.
Nick Elliott (60*) and Nick Park (50) helped the Green & Golds post 148 for three before George Watts (3-25) and Lynton Staniford (2- 10) did their bit with the ball as Langley were dismissed for 100.
New Milton will be joined in the semi-final draw by Waterlooville, Hook & Newnham Basics and Totton & Eling.