Jordan Wright’s maiden hundred swept Sarisbury Athletic to a thrilling five-wicket victory over the Hampshire Academy – and split the Southern Premier League Cup East group wide open.
His unbeaten 102 eased Sarisbury to a penultimate over victory after the county youngsters had posted a competitive 223-7.
It leaves St Cross Symondians seconds – whom the Academy visit on Saturday (12.30) – as the only undefeated side in the nine-team group.
Wright’s telling 141-run partnership with Josh Hill (63) was the key for Sarisbury, who looked as though they were going to stroll it at 184-2 with time to spare – but when Henry Petrie (3-31) broke the stand they wobbled alarmingly and looked as though they might blow it.
Two more wickets fell, leaving Sarisbury to get 22 off the last three overs, but Chris Sanders hit 12 runs off four deliveries as the Academy youngsters lost their nerve and with it a dramatic match with eight balls to spare.
Wright, whose previous highest score in Southern League cricket was 36 two seasons ago, had earlier been influential with the ball, removing the talented and in-form Tom Prest before denying Fletcha Middleton his own maiden century at the tail end of the Academy innings.
The left-handed son of former Hampshire opener Tony Middleton underpinned the Academy innings, hitting a six and ten fours in a highest-yet 95, and sharing partnerships with Harry Broderick (30) and Hugh Wheeler (34).
George Metzger later hit 38 before Tom Kitcher (3-44) struck three late blows before the Academy innings closed at 223-7, an interesting score on Sarisbury’s compact Allotment Road ground where it can be difficult to defend totals.
Sarisbury soon lost Sam Floyd to the lively left-arm of Ben Huntley (2-36), but Ricky Rawlins pinged a five-boundary 28, scored at a run a ball.
Wright and Hill came together at 43-2 and gradually turned the match in Sarisbury’s favour, getting right on top as Wright cleared the boundary rope four times alongside his nine fours, and Hill (fresh from his blistering century against Burridge the previous week) hitting two sixes and also nine boundaries.
Their 141-run stand took Sarisbury to within 40 of victory, but run chases are seldom straightforward, those late breakthroughs by Petrie and Huntley left the hosts with plenty to do in the closing overs.
Wright, however, wasn’t to be denied his hour of glory as Sarisbury celebrated a penultimate over victory.