Alton’s first defeat of the season – an eyebrow raising 80 run loss on ‘foreign soil’ at Ventnor – cut the Brewers’ lead at the top to 18 points.
The result fuelled optimism in the respective dressing rooms of Portsmouth & Southsea, Purbrook and Ropley that the championship race might not be a foregone conclusion, writes Mike Vimpany.
Previously unbeaten Alton found themselves on the rack at Steephill when Mark Fletcher (61), Pierre Kriel (41) and Mark Price (39) guided the islanders to 150-2.
Although they fought back to dismiss Ventnor for 213, Alton were bowled out themselves for 133, with Hugh Calloway and Millfield-bound Marcus Horton sharing six of the wickets.
P & S visited Alton today SAT in a critical promotion crunch match and drove the A32 full of confidence after pounding beleaguered Totton & Eling II for 409-5 at St James’s Park.
Jack Davies led the way with a boundary strewn 156 – 41 runs more than the entire Totton team (115) managed between them.
Purbrook recovered from 118-5 through Ben Michel (45) and Alan Mengham (39) to post 220-9 and then bowl United Services out for 109.
South African Tim Niemand didn’t manage to score a third successive HL century; instead, James Forrest (76) took up the run scoring mantle as promotion outsiders Ropley totalled 238-9 at the KGV.
Hook hit back, with Dan Moore (67) and 15-year old Liam Doran (50) taking their response to 211all out.
Sam Gillott hit 97 as Shrewton piled up 316 before restricting visitors Burridge II to 202 (Cam White 65).
Left-hand pair Tom Kent (87) and Virat Sahu (55) shared an opening stand of 18 as youthful Fareham & Crofton rattled up 286-5 before Hampshire U15 prospect Ollie Southon (5-34) got amongst Andover II, dismissed 188-8.
Paul Longland hit a century as OTs & Romsey, two wickets down before they’d made a run, made 327 – Sam Costley hitting an invaluable 48 before tea,
Teenage left arm spinner Nico Newman, youngest of the siblings, took a personal best six-fer as relegation bound Ellingham were rolled for 117.
New Milton nicked a one-wicket win over St Cross Symondians (163-9), while Bishops Waltham brushed away any remaining relegation fears with a 73-run win at Sarisbury Athletic II.
With two matches left (after today), Ellingham and Andover II occupied the two relegation places above already sentenced Totton & Eling II.