Standing (from left): Tom Saunders, Jack Rowett, Chris Williams, Ollie Green, Joe Huns, Marcus Bragginton, Keith Clarke [Team Manager]. Kneeling: Sam Rook, Tom Rose, Alex Nippard, Roshan Embalagama, Spencer Savage.
They maintained their 22 points per match average with an eight-wicket win over weakened Lymington II, whom they shot out for 64 – Spencer Savage taking 4-23 and Ollie Green 3-6 off his eight overs – before polishing off the target, with Tom Rose hitting 27 not out.
Encouragingly, the outfield at their West Parley base (previously a thorn in their accreditation bid), is looking much better due to the absence of soccer all last winter.
Composed innings from captain Tim Noble and former New Milton ace Will Crossley, from New Milton, saw second placed Sway to a comfortable victory against a depleted St Cross Symondians III’s outfit to record their ninth win on the bounce.
Chasing 105 in a rain reduced 35-over a side game, Sway got home two wickets down, with Noble hitting an assured, unbeaten 40 and Crossley notching a handsome 31 before he was out with just five runs required.
The falling rain had threatened to scupper the contest, but in the end Sway had it done by 6pm, with Dan Bailey clipping the winning runs off his legs.
It came after the bowlers had set up the win; Dave Steadman (1-20) and Jon Waller (a miserly 2-7 off nine overs that was aided by a terrific, sharp stumping from Alex Hall) hitting their straps quickly and pinning the visitors down to 105-8 (Tom Moore 35)
The going was slow throughout, with Hugh Bernard (1-15) getting a wicket thanks to a good catch from Dan Bailey, twin brother Josh Bailey grabbing another scalp amid a nice spell and Jon Grasham (2-14), looking very good.
Third placed Havant IIs, whose games against the two top sides are going to be crucial, trimmed their Portsmouth counterparts by 97 runs – Andrew Galliers (72) and Oli Jones (62) sharing a century stand to set up their 225-6.
Indy Chakrabarti (37), who has moved to the Southsea club from SPL3 title chasers Hambledon, top scored in Portsmouth’s 128, Ali Gardner returning 4-19 and Mark Martin 3-27.
Fareham & Crofton and Winton had contrived to finish three games each by the mid-point of the season.
Covid issues in Longparish causing their trip to Bath Lane to be cancelled, while Winton played only five overs before rain washed out Compton & Chandler’s Ford's visit to Castle Meadows.
Near neighbours Bournemouth II, aided by Surang Urankar’s half-century, chalked up 193-7 (Jamie Elviss 39) before Andover rolled over for 108 (Roe 3-19).
Past Winchester College captain Freddie Egleston, who led Alton to the Hampshire Under-19 T20 title last season, scored 64 as the Brewers posted 175-5 against Burridge II, who fell to 152 all out against Toby Salmon 4-30 and left-armer Gemma Porter’s 3-13 spell.
Easton & Martyr Worthy remain bottom, although they boosted their hopes of surviving the two-down drop zone (remember Bedhampton withdrew pre-season) by beating fellow strugglers Hursley Park by six runs in a Quarters nail biter.
Top three Steve Poole (54), Jordon Banks (33) and Seb Byers (43) scored a large chunk of Easton’s 211-8.
Tom Flynn (65) and Paul Davies (38) platformed Hursley to 151-2 before the Banks brothers Jordon (4=52) and Jamie (3-59) reduced the hosts to 186-9. Jai Solanki hit two sixes in a brisk 32, but could only manage to get Hursley’s reply to 205-9.