Visit from bottom side Fawley up next for promotion-chasing Basingstoke and North Hants

Basingstoke Gazette: The Basingstoke team before their game against Hambledon The Basingstoke team before their game against Hambledon

BASINGSTOKE and North Hants will look to keep the pressure on the top two in Southern League Division One as they face a visit from bottom side Fawley.

When these sides met earlier in the season the Bountymen cruised to a 133-run victory after they posted their biggest total of the season, 329-7.

Fawley have one league win to their name, which came at Liphook a fortnight ago.

In contrast, Basingstoke have lost just once in the league this season, which was in their last home outing against Sarisbury Athletic.

The Bountymen will be boosted by the return of Ryan Connor and Patrick Joseph, but Graham Porter is still unavailable.

Basingstoke captain Chris Froud is fully aware his side will start as favourites for the contest and said: “We are nearly back to full strength and want to get back to winning at home. They may be bottom of the league, but we are not going to take them lightly. They really have nothing to lose.”

Last weekend, the Bountymen bounced back to winning ways in the league, as they won by 21 runs at Hambledon.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat, but were soon in trouble as both openers, Chris Froud and Dan Coombs, were back in the pavilion with just 33 on the board.

The Bountymen recovered, with the innings built around an excellent 60 from Andrew Niblett, which came from 69 balls and included five fours and three sixes.

He was well supported by Craig Williamson (35) and Martyn James (20) as Basingstoke reached 193-6 from their 50 overs.

James then dismissed both openers with 26 on the board and Dan Coombs, who had replaced the injured Jarred Opperman after two balls, reduced the home side to 31-3.

Robert Akins (81) took up the mantle, but thanks to a season’s best from Matt Thankachan (6-31), Hambledon were bowled out for 172.

The following day, the Bountymen lost by 32 runs in their Southern Electric t20 Cup quarter-final at holders South Wilts, as the home side scored 151-9.

This was thanks to opener James Hayward (48) and Jack Mynott (53), while James (3-19) was the pick of the visiting bowlers.

Basingstoke looked in with a chance as they reached 73-2, with Coombs (37) and Froud (27) at the centre, but then the wickets started to fall and in the end they were all out for 119.

Skipper Froud said: “The Hambledon wicket was very tricky, as we had been told, so I was pleased with the win.

“Against South Wilts, I think we were unlucky, as James Hayward put the ball up in the air a number of times just out of reach of fielders. If one of them had gone to hand the outcome would have been very different.”

Basingstoke’s second XI maintained top spot in Division Three as they won a thriller against visiting Portsmouth and Southsea.

The home side scored 217, with Lee Nurse their top scorer with 82.

Their Pompey visitors were then bowled out for 214 in the penultimate over, as teenagers Brad Neal and Shay Bradley took three wickets each.

This weekend, the leaders travel to bottom side Trojans looking for their second double of the season.

However, their opponents have won their last two games as they try to avoid relegation.

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