Totton & Eling’s immediate future in the ECB Southern Electric Premier League is dangling by a thread.
A close run two-wicket defeat by Ventnor leaves the Eels 11 points adrift at the Premier Division basement and facing a ‘must win’ final day visit to the Hampshire Academy on Saturday.
Totton, who have won only once all season, certainly battled all the way, rallying from 63-6 to make 189-8 against Ventnor.
They later had the islanders 132-7 before James Cheek, with a decisive 39 not out, got Ventnor across the line with seven balls to spare.
Adam Wilson (2-36) and Mark Holmes (3-35) ripped out Totton’s top order with a potent new-ball spell.
Wilson had both Tom Arnold (9) and James Haggaty (1) caught by Oli Mills and then Holmes accounted for South Australia’s Cameron Valente (10) and Josh Metcalfe (0) – the latter giving Mills his third catch – to leave Totton 25-4.
Darron Augustus and Nick Jenkin (19) rallied, but Mills (2-28) couldn’t keep out of the action and struck two more blows as the Eels reeled at 63-6.
Former Hampshire and Sussex cricketer Billy Taylor, playing his first competitive game for four seasons, swapped his umpire’s coat for his bat and shared an 88-run partnership with Augustus, which lifted Totton to 151.
Taylor made 42 before becoming a third victim for Holmes, while Hampshire Under-16s prospect Jadon Buckeridge bowled a tidy ten-over spell for 23.
Augustus went on to make 69 not out as Totton progressed to 189-8 – a target Ventnor struggled to chase.
Valente (3-40) whipped out Friend and Mills before Ventnor lost Jake George (30) to Taylor (2-28) to sit uneasily at 69-4.
Ian Hilsum (20) and Neil Westhorpe (28) turned the tide, but Totton were on the offensive again after Dylan Augustus (2-27) and Valente sent three wickets falling for 11 runs.
Cheek found a reliable eighth-wicket partner in teenager Toby Corbin, with whom he added a precious 35, and then smashed Metcalfe over mid-wicket for six to clinch a nervy two-wicket win for Ventnor with seven balls to spare.
Ventnor host Totton’s relegation rivals Burridge in their final match at Newclose on Saturday.