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Basingstoke and North Hants win Southern League Division Two title - but Hartley Wintney suffer relegation
BASINGSTOKE and North Hants sealed the Southern League Division Two title with a 123-run victory over visiting Paultons at May's Bounty yesterday afternoon.
Knowing that a win would secure their first league title in more than 30 years, the Bountymen won the toss and decided to bat.
Things were not going well as Paultons reduced them to 150-8 at one point, but number seven batsman Matt Thankachan hit 51, while an unbroken final wicket stand of 61 between Ryan Connor (41 not out) and Dave Pistorius (21 not out) got them up to 251-9 from their 50 overs.
The Paultons reply never really got going as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 128.
The highlight of a great day came with the visitors on 98 as Connor took a hat-trick, dismissing three Paultons batsmen in successive balls to wipe out any outside chance of a surprise win. Martyn James and Pistorius also took three wickets each.
Basingstoke will face Hook and Newnham Basics in Division One next year - but not Hartley Wintney, who were relegated despite winning at Fawley on the final day of the season.
Australian Lee Weiss top-scored with 82 as Hartley made 231-8 from their 50 overs, while Chris Jolley and Scott Baldwin took three wickets each as the hosts were bowled out for 217.
However, in addition to winning, Hartley also needed both Andover and Hambledon to lose their final games in order to escape the drop.
Hambledon beat Rowledge, who will join Hartley in Division Two next year, while Hook failed to do their local rivals a favour, losing by 132 runs at Andover.
The hosts reached an imposing target of 284-7 from their 50 overs before restricting Hook to 152-9, Ben Thane top-scoring with 43.
Basingstoke's second string lost by 69 runs at Havant II in their final Division Three game of the season.
Keith Harsham took 3-29 as Havant were bowled out for 225 and while Bradley Neal made 55, Basingstoke were dismissed for 156 and finish the season eighth in the table.
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