All appeared lost when the ninth OTs wicket fell at 194-9 as the visitors looked like falling well short in their bit to chase down Bishops Waltham’s 310-9.
But opener Paul Longland, who went on to carry his bat for 118, was 85 not out – but was far from left stranded as Joe Welch emerged from the Albany Road pavilion to smash OTs to victory.
The injury prone Welch would normally bat much higher and was only batting last because he injured himself bowling in his fifth over.
Anyone who has watched Welch convert penalty corners for Romsey’s hockey team will appreciate how hard he hits the ball – as Waltham found out to their cost.
Welch cracked four sixes and nine fours in an unbeaten 76, scored off only 33 balls.
He swept OTs to victory with eight overs to spare !
“Joe could hardly walk, so just stood in his crease and smashed the ball everywhere,” said bemused BW skipper Dan Wheeler.
“Time after time he cleared the ropes. We had no way of stopping him.”
Season-long leaders Alton II needed only four points from today’s penultimate round visit to Fareham & Crofton to clinch promotion back to Southern Premier League Division 3 – exactly 12 months since they were relegated !
They ended Portsmouth & Southsea’s outside promotion hopes with an emphatic eight-wicket victory at the Jubilee Ground.
Alex Hughes (4-29) and skipper Stephen Ball (2-5), who nailed openers Mark Smith and Steve Clements in a miserly ten overs spell, were the pick of the Alton bowlers as P & S made 172-9 (Matt Benfield 41).
Howard Gadsby (76) and Joel Paul (36) shared a near century partnership before Richard Anthony (36 not out) completed the formalities.
Third-placed Purbrook were 21 points of Ropley going into today’s programme.
New Zealander Ben Michel enjoyed his best match yet, scoring 45 and later taking 5-41 with his left-arm spin as Purbrook (269-6) won by 167 runs at mid-table Shrewton.
George Hamson (56), Martin Lee (43) and Michel batted Purbrook into a winning position before the Shrews dropped to 132 all out (Dan Bingley 41).
Ropley are still not out of it after plundering 375-5 of the Sarisbury Athletic attack at Vicarage Lane, where visiting captain Colin Day won the toss !
Once again South African Tim Niemand led from the front, cracking 141, his third ton in four weeks.
Alex Stogden (84) and Alex Spencer (54) provided support before Sarisbury were dismissed for 145, Martin Peters grabbing a career-best 7-22 with his off-breaks.
Hook & Newnham Basics continue to produce promising young players and Hampshire U16 starlet Alex Brown (78) was the latest to show his skills in the narrow six-run win at United Services.
Hook defended 237-9 after Aussie Matt Rogers (63) had sparked the US reply.
New Milton II look set to finish in a healthy top half spot after chasing down a Burridge total of 210 to win by thee wickets.
Well placed at 121-2 through Dan Danley-Jones (77) and Jack Slaughter (56), Burridge dipped to 210 all out, with James Adams and Dale Wakefield taking three wickets each.
Raff Hussey (67) and Wakefield (46) led the Milton chase which was going well until Iain Hardcastle (3-33) nipped in.
But Mike Mortimer hit a key 23 to get the junior Green & Golds across the line.
St Cross Symondians III skipper Steve Berryman, left, is a strong contender for the County Division 1 batting award after notching his fifth 50-plus score in the past six matches.
But his 83 against visiting Ventnor II, which lifted his run tally beyond the 550-mark, wasn’t enough to secure success over the islanders.
Ventnor simply breezed past their hosts’ 271, with Martin Blackman (72) and young Ben Attrill (73) sharing an unbroken 148-run third-wicket stand.
In the nether regions, Totton & Eling II trimmed a depleted Fareham & Crofton by four wickets after Hampshire U15 starlet Oli Southon had impressed with 86 of the visitors’ 228.
Andover II could be relegated – even though they’ve won five of their 13 games, which only mid-table Ventnor can better of them teams above them.
The Lions rattled up 303-6 against beleaguered Ellingham, with Patrick Case (92) and Harry Blackburn (55) to the fore. Shaun Leadbetter (64) scored almost half of Ellingham’s 134 all out.