FRUSTRATED cricketers spent another Saturday afternoon indoors as the rain battered local recreation grounds.
So far this season, over 60 per cent of games in the Southern Electric Premier League (SEPL) have been washed out, with the 20-division Hampshire League programme effectively wiped out twice in the past three weeks.
Most people remember 2012 as being a particularly lean and wet summer, with a catalogue of games being called off in early July.
Some 92 matches in the SEPL were cancelled that year and hundreds more in the Hampshire League, the country’s largest recreational competition.
But 20 years ago, hardly a ball was bowled in May when the Hampshire League suffered its worst ever start to a season.
By the end of the fifth week, 20 teams had not managed to play a single match, 156 teams had played only once and the remaining 21 sides had managed two games.
Fortunately, the weather then relented but a few more matches were washed out and the final postponed total reached 390, or 24 per cent of the overall programme.
The old Southern League was similarly affected, with only one match played in the first three weeks of the 1994 season.
After a brief respite over the Spring bank holiday weekend, the rain came down again in the first week of June, by which time 37 of the 45 scheduled matches had been cancelled.
South Wilts actually managed to play 14 of their 18 matches this season and finished sixth behind title winners United Services.
But so far this summer, they’ve only once taken to the field in a Premier League match – a tally they hope to double when they visit St Cross Symondians at the Green Jackets Ground on Saturday (1pm).
Jack Mynott and Steve Riddle, who would have missed last weekend’s Bashley (Rydal) washout, return to the fold.
Like South Wilts, St Cross Symondians won their only match – against Ventnor – having signed Hampshire prospect Lewis McManus.
South Wilts: Morton, Abel, Mynott, Hawkins, Hayward, Riddle, Hibberd, Franklin, Warner, Richards, Ducellier.
South Wilts II, who have played twice so far, host Portsmouth & Southsea, a side which have suffered three successive defeats this season.