It left Parley eight points adrift of new leaders Hook & Newnham Basics II, who trimmed visiting Burridge II by 42 runs at the KGV.
Parley hardly expected to be drowning their sorrows after Ollie Green (3-8) and Jack Rowett (2-33) reduced promotion outsiders Andover to 32-5 in over 16 and later 107-7.
“Perhaps thinking the remaining wickets would just happen, the intensity dropped and with 38 extras and a decent rearguard they did not materialise,” moaned Clarke. “Complacency, laissez-faire and a lack of determination was all too evident.”
Rory Case, on debut, was Andover’s hero, hitting 69 and adding a vital 70 with Rowan Duckworth as Andover recovered to post a competitive 203 all out.
Sam Collins (above)(48) swept Parley to 40 off six overs and on to 98-1 – only for the next nine wickets to fall for 95 runs, Duckworth and Max Souter sharing six wickets.
“Too many had starts but provided catching practice (there were 9) to the opposition,” Clarke grumbled. “Even at 162-5 with 17 overs remaining, the required 42 runs should have been achievable. A prime example of thinking others will do it if I don’t – but they didn’t. Anyone for self-examination?
“With four games to go an immediate reverse of fortune is required at OTs & Romsey. We are better than this result and need to show that is the case. That responsibility rests with both the team and the individual !”
Hook & Newnham seconds took full advantage, with Harry Warner’s 84 the stand-out player as Kevin Light’s Army ran up 219 (Alex Brown 35) before Josh Balcombe (3-31), Shane Brewer, Will Gardner and the inspirational Light shared the spoils with the ball. Burridge were dismissed for 177.
So what’s left for the two title contenders ?
Hook & Newnham Basics face a stormy trip to relegation threatened Ryde before taking on Bedhampton (home), Longparish (away) before Ropley visit the KGV on the final day of the season.
Parley go to OTs & Romsey, host Alton II, host relegated Shrewton and finish off with a tricky visit to unpredictable St Cross Symondians III.
There’s everything to play for …