Three unblemished starts ended last weekend, leaving Alton and Hook & Newnham Basics second teams the only undefeated sides.
By a quirk of fixture fate, they just happened to be playing each other at Hook’s King George VI Ground today and In-form Basics skipper Kevin Light wants to see his side pull clear.
But Hook almost came a cropper – alongside Portsmouth & Southsea, Purbrook and United Services – at Totton & Eling, who finished a boundary-hit shy of a notable victory when the teams met in a top v bottom affair at Southern Gardens.
Hook posted 267-9 on the back of teenager Jack Robson (69), Matt Buckingham (51) and Andrew Dormody (43).
But the young and improving Eels almost won, with Wayne Lockyer’s 77 the pivot of a late run flurry which saw one-time Hampshire off-spinner Richard Dibden (38) lead Totton to 277 all out and an agonising three-run defeat.
Alton’s 16-run win over Purbrook was based almost entirely around [pictured] Ryan Hale’s unbeaten 102 which underpinned a total of 191-7.
Purbrook’s reply fell apart at the seams. They were 88-8 (Tom Paul 4-33) before a ninth-wicket recovery got them to 175 all out.
P & S fancy themselves as potential CD1 winners, but a slender one-run defeat at Bishops Waltham knocked their early prospects.
Don Quincey (49) top scored in Waltham’s 142-9, but incoming Hong Kong leggie Sunny Bhimsaria proved more than enough for P & S, who finished one short at 141-9, despite Matt Benfield’s half-century.
Newly promoted US got a scare at St Cross Symondians III a week earlier and when visiting New Milton III trimmed them by seven runs at Burnaby Road their record had gone as well.
Ryan Beck’s 69 underpinned Milton’s 183, which owed much to late order trio Joe Hall, Dave Crossley and Matt Baker.
US appeared to be cruising home at 136-4 (Yashan Akila 62), but tumbled to 176 all out, with Hall (3-25) and Baker (3-23) doing the damage.
South African Tim Niemand hit 139 and Alex Stogdon (80) as Ropley posted a hefty 356-9 before completing a 204-run win over visiting Ventnor II’s youthful islanders.
Andover beat Sarisbury Athletic by six wickets, but slipped to 58-4 before Harry Blackburn (60) and Luke Andrews (34) eased them past the visitors’ 163 (Manders 56).
OTs & Romsey chased down Burridge’s 193, while Ben Kissane’s 70 played a major part as Fareham & Crofton got home by five wickets after hosts Ellingham had posted 203.
Steve Fryer bailed St Cross Symondians out of the mire at 86-7 and went on to win the Chris James sponsored man-of-the-match prize.
The St Cross secretary scored an innings changing 65 not out and, along with Henry Eades took three wickets as Shrewton were dismissed for 143, some way short of their hosts 199 all out.