Bashley 3 Tadley Calleva 1
The continuous rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the two Harrys, McGrath and Bunce, who found the net three times in conditions more suitable for growing rice. Bashley, with the influential Jack Smith and Conor Whitely returned from suspension, and new signing Dan Kempson playing his first game for the black and golds, kicked off facing the elements.
They made their intent clear from the start with a series of long-range attempts from the boot of Conor Whiteley that tested both keeper and goalframe. It was McGrath, however, who found the key to the vault when activated on his favoured left flank by a Dan Thompson pass, he pranced into the box and drove home through the legs of the advancing keeper.
The remaining twelve minutes of the half was played out in midfield with neither goalkeeper seriously under treat.
Bashley, now with the wind and rain at their backs, opened strongly and three minutes from the re-start increased their lead when Tadley keeper Jack Martin failed to hold a long shot from Whiteley and the resulting rebound was quickly dispatched by the foraging Harry Bunce.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Tadders pulled a goal back when a poor pass from midfield was intercepted and the resultant breakaway let in Brett Denham who surprised the under-used Dan Kempson with a sharp shot.
Bashley, conscious of losing their hard-fought lead, steam-rolled forward with increased determination. Young striker George Croucher came on for the tiring Whiteley and his central presence left space for the reenergised McGrath who along with Bunce and Morgan terrorised the Tadley goal area. Croucher and Morgan both had chances saved but it was McGrath who capitalised on the mayhem and underlined his pedigree with a superb goal.
Following a dynamic run down the centre, that scattered the retreating defence like a ball through skittles, he hit the back of the net with a shot from distance whilst still on full throttle. There was just time for the redundant Dan Kempson in the Bash goal to prove his worth with a smart reaction save to stop a late Tadley goal.
Bashley: Kempson, Webber, Frost, Morris, Thompson, Strickland, Bunce, Ross, Whiteley, Morgan, McGrath
Used sub: Croucher
Photo: Double goal scorer Harry McGrath