Only eight points separated the top five clubs in going into today’s round eight matches, with Ryde the third club to wear the yellow in successive weeks.
Ironically, Ryde were relegated with all hands last year after a wretched debut season in Southern League Division 3. They benefitted from an unexpected 78-run loss by Ropley, the overnight leaders, at newly promoted Hythe & Dibden.
Ryde cashed in with a thumping eight-wicket win at Sarisbury Athletic, who look to have a massive fight for survival on their hands.
Ben Gregory (4-45) and Sam Rockley (3-19) did the damage as Sarisbury were dismissed for 188 – a total Ryde gleefully polished off with Ben Wadmore (79 not out) increasing his run tally for the season to 392 from seven knocks, and Rockley hitting 45.
Ropley’s unbeaten tag disappeared when Hythe & Dibden beat them in rather bizarre circumstances at Jones Lane.
The promoted Watersiders were on their way to a powerful 298-7 when Sam Redford ruptured his Achilles running a single and later Aaron Oliver joined him in casualty having been smacked in the face by the ball in the field.
New Zealander Tarin Mason, pictured above, struck 99 and enjoyed a key stand with Tom Richards (63) as Hythe piled up 298-7, a total Ropley seldom threatened despite a classy 94 by Alex Stogden, an innings Waterside locals reckoned was as good as they’ve watched for some time.
Portsmouth & Southsea lost their unbeaten tag to Longparish the previous week, but wheeled out Lincolnshire Minor Counties batsman Conrad Louth against United Services.
The 28-year old, arguably Lincolnshire’s most prolific run scorer, didn’t disappoint, scoring 187, clearing the Burnaby Road boundary six times alongside scoring 21 fours.
With fellow opener Jack Davies (38) and Tom Benfield (52) chipping in, P & S posted a towering 344-5.
US, still without a win, made a creditable 266-9 in reply, with opener Tom May (61) and John Parker (53) making a second consecutive century.
Good news for County 1 clubs, however, is that due to work commitments, Lough is only set to play a handful of games.
Lymington II, who entertain P & S at the Sports Ground today, remained in the picture with a Jack Roberts inspired 44-run win at Burridge.
Roberts made an unbeaten 104 and with Oli Kelly (55) and Glenn Willoughby (46) chipping in, Lymington posted 261-7. Burridge replied with 217-7.
The surprise result of round 7 was the seven-wicket battering unpredictable Shrewton gave Longparish, who ended Portsmouth & Southsea’s start with a 329-run salvo of their own seven days previous.
The boot was on the other foot this time, with Paul Clancy (7-19) ploughing into Longparish, who were shot out for 98 and handsomely beaten after Sam Gillett’s unbeaten 56 completed the formalities.
Western Australian teenager Reece Abrams has proved a lucky charm for Fareham & Crofton.
Before his arrival from the WACA Grade club Bayswater-Morley, Fareham lost both their opening games. They’ve won every one of the five subsequent matches the 17-year old has played.
Abrams, who motivates himself by listening to Justin Bieber music, starred in Fareham’s emphatic 141-run win over New Milton, hitting a crisp 88 before taking 3-19 with his leg spin.
Youngsters Ben Kissane (44) and Morgan Frost (32) also made their mark as Fareham amassed 269-7 before Ben White weighed in with 3-24. Milton made 128 in reply.
One time Fareham captain Kevin Light played a significant role in Hook & Newnham Basics’ last ball 208-run tie with Bishops Waltham at the KGV.
He top scored with 57 as Hook their 208 (Ben Allnutt 37) and then ran out Philip Dalton off the last ball of the match to tie the scores.
Haider Khan (57) and Gareth Lovett (31) put BW in the box seat at 117-2, but wickets tumbled and at 146-7 Hook looked to have the points the bag.
Sam Medhurst (36) and Dan Wheeler (16) titled the balance, but at 187-9 it was odd-on Hook again.
Bishops’ last pair added 21 to tie the scores after 49.5 overs – when Light pounced with a run out to tie the match.
Harry Trussler’s 65 steered St Cross Symondians III to a six-wicket win over hosts OTs & Romsey, while the moon was up and shining bright on the Isle of Wight at 8.30pm when Ventnor’s match with Rowledge II eventually ended.
Ventnor’s 318-5 was built around a hefty stand between 16-year old Ben Attrill (73) and Charlie Sammons (74), who came together after Adam Wilson (52) had made a half-century at the top of the innings.
Rowledge were dismissed for 250, with Joe Scullion whacking four sixes in a late 45-run blast. Rowledge just managed to make the last boat home ...