That’s when Alton II host Purbrook at the Jubilee Ground – each looking for a fourth win on the bounce.
Alton were relegated with all hands from Premier 3 last season, but they’re shaping up nicely this season – with much the same side, which suggests a gulf in standards between the two leagues.
The Brewers sent Shrewton’s own three-match winning start up in smoke when they piled up a thumping 296-6, with top three Joe Paul (81), Howard Gadsby (70) and Andy Postles (67) scoring the lion’s share.
The run fest didn’t continue when Shrewton got to the crease, as only Stuart Cruse (36) (who had earlier taken 4-52) made his mark in a disappointing 139 all out.
Stephen Ball (3-19) did the early damage before Richard Anthony (3-20) cut through the Shrewton belly.
Purbrook’s own win over Totton & Eling’s young visitors was equally emphatic – the junior Eels being shot out for 94, with James Gurney taking 4-33.
Brad Mengham, back from a short stint at Waterlooville, made an unbeaten 33 in Purbrook’s eight-wicket success.
Skipper Martin Lee, probably still shocked Purbrook (so often marooned by wet early season weather) have started so well, isn’t getting carried away by his team’s promising launch.
“We’ve only played the teams in the lower half of the table,” he warned his squad.
Portsmouth & Southsea’s third straight win – by eight wickets – over Ellingham took 24 overs of bowling time and a mere 21 minutes with the bat !
Matt Benfield (5-17), pictured, proved virtually unplayable as Ellingham were skittled for 58 and were on their way home long before they’d cut the cucumber sarnies after Jack Davies had biffed a nine-four 42.
In total contrast, Hook & Newnham Basics’ eventual two-wicket win over Andover II went to the wire, with victory being snatched after 49.4 overs !
Openers Harri (cor) Williams (31) and Alex Thompson (30) gave Andover a start, which Olly Cox (41) improved. But from 149-2, Andover perhaps might have scored more than 238.
Nonetheless, it proved a real challenge as Hook, on the back foot at 79-4 (Jack Robson 30), rallied through Ben Allnutt (50), but still needed partnerships – and 78 more runs - when injured skipper Kevin Light (calf) emerged from the KGV pavilion.
“I managed to add vital runs with Andrew Darmody (39) and Liam Doran (17) before I was dismissed (29) with what can only be described as a spectacular one-handed diving catch from Andover’s Luke Andrews on the boundary in front of the sight screen,” said Light.
“It prevented a six and still left us needing 18, but our last pair of Kish Parmar and Glen Williams saw us home - with two balls to go.”
Like Hook, newly promoted United Services are probably wondering how they remain unbeaten prior to New Milton’s Burnaby Road visit.
They were rushed out for 114 by St Cross Symondians III, who still contrived to lose by seven runs – the match lasting barely 60 of its scheduled 100-overs.
What runs there were came from US pair Aussie Matt Rogers (31), Gary Hounsome (28) and Mark Toogood (23), while St Cross reflected somewhat ruefully on the 13 wides Jamie Burgess sent down as they fell seven short at 107 all out.
Jonathan Parker’s new ball spell of 4-16 arguably won it for US, who looked capable of letting it slip when the St Cross tail wagged from 82-8.
Former Bournemouth all-rounder Joe Hall (6-14) was the hero of New Milton’s 75-run win over Ropley, who need to beat Ventnor II today to avoid being sucked into the CD1 danger zone.
Despite Lynton Staniford being sidelined – he trod on the ball in the warm-up - they were rushed out for 127, having been a promising 63-1 at one stage.
New Milton’s 202 was built around a fourth-wicket stand of 97 between Ashley Collison (56) and William Crossley (38), though Ropley hardly did their cause any good by conceding 33 extras.