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Basingstoke and North Hants in fine fettle ahead of title showdown
BASINGSTOKE and North Hants warmed up for their Southern League Division Two top-of-the-table showdown against Hursley Park with a crushing 243-run victory at Totton and Eling II.
The Bountymen racked up their biggest score of the season, making 347-6 from their 50 overs on Saturday.
The massive total was built around a superb knock of 142 from Chris Froud, which included 24 fours in 136 balls.
Basingstoke skipper Dan Coombs praised his opener and said: “That is the best innings by anyone this season. It was superb to watch.
“He made sure he punished every bad ball he was bowled and also kept the scoreboard ticking over.”
Froud and opening partner Andy Fulton (50) set the platform for the huge score as they shared 134 for the first wicket.
Captain Dan Coombs (47) and a swashbuckling unbeaten 42 from Martyn James from 21 balls, which included three sixes, left the home side shell-shocked by the end.
Their reply never really got going.
They managed just 14 from the first 10 overs as seam bowlers James and Ryan Connor kept things tight and then Graham Porter (2-34), Dave Pistorius (4-35) and Matt Thankachan (2-8) made sure the side were bowled out for 104.
Looking back on another very comprehensive win, captain Coombs said: “Looking at the deck we were hoping for a score of around 300, but it was great display with the bat and MJ (Martyn James) scored quick runs at the end to put Totton out of the game.
“They were batting for bonus points but we were very disciplined and MJ and Ryan Connor did really well early on to leave them with a massive task.”
He added: “We managed to get Jimmy Taylor out cheaply and never really looked back from there.
“Once again we have bowled a team out for less than 150.”
The Bountymen’s latest victory puts them within touching distance of promotion to Division One, but this will not be enough for a side whose sole aim all season has been to win the title.
With three games remaining only one side now stands in their way and this is Hursley Park, the visitors on Saturday.
This sets-up a mouthwatering clash at May’s Bounty, where the Bountymen are unbeaten, when the two sides meet for the second time with the visitors out to avenge a defeat earlier in the year – one of just two losses they have suffered all season.
Coombs added: “This has a great way to warm up for the Hursley game and that is what we will now spend the week focusing on.”
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