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Hampshire League drop fight goes down to the wire
Those are the pitches on which Fareham & Crofton and Old Basing face ‘must win’ games, which will decide at least one of the three relegation positions.
Midhurst are already down, but if they beat fellow strugglers Rowledge and their rivals in distress lose, Easton & Martyr Worthy could still stay up.
Fareham have lost their last five games, but collected eight handy bonus points from a trip to Waterlooville, who clinched potential promotion with a 50-run win.
Title favourites Ville, whose promotion will depend on the Premier League’s verdict on the Rowlands Avenue outfield, lost three early wickets but recovered to reach 248-8 through Alex Shephard (95) and Max Goddard (60).
Fareham’s 198-8 response guaranteed a decent bonus point haul and enables them to take a solitary one-point advantage into Saturday’s Bath Lane crunch against a Lymington side that has lost its last four games.
Old Basing, whose match against Hook & Newnham Basics was washed out after 11 overs, face a Gosport Borough team brimming with confidence after six straight wins.
Gosport trimmed Lymington by 42 runs, while Easton’s 204 at third-placed Alton was overhauled by the Heffernan brothers, Mark scoring an unbeaten 90 and Michael (55) a half-century.
Alton remain 15 points behind Ellingham, who beat Rowledge (176-9) by seven wickets, with Brett Spicer celebrating a 5-34 return.
Australian Andrew Webb (103) notched his first century of the season as Portchester demoted Midhurst by a nine-wicket margin, while Hugh Calloway – with 88 and a 5-52 return – was a major player in Ventnor’s 132-run win over wedding-hit Locks Heath.
Lead County 2 pair New Milton and Ropley stormed to big wins.
Teenager Nicky Elliott (99) agonisingly missed out on a maiden league century in New Milton’s thumping 207-run win at Hungerford, while Ropley skittled Cadnam for 56.
Division 3 table toppers Longparish lost by 26 runs to second-placed Basingstoke III at the Castle Field, but take a handy 12-point lead into their final match with relegated Winterslow.
Highfield lost by 41 runs to a Simon Booth (87) inspired Bramshaw, but are already assured of the title.
Fawley II are County Four South winners after a 13th straight win over Compton.
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