BASINGSTOKE and North Hants’ promotion hopes look to be over after they lost at Liphook & Ripsley by 27 runs.

This was the Bountymen’s first away loss and only their third in total in this season’s Southern League Division One.

Leaders New Milton maintained their perfect record by winning their top-of-the-table clash with Sarisbury Athletic, and are three wins clear of Basingstoke with five games to play.

Talking about his side’s promotion hopes, Basingstoke captain Chris Froud said: “We want to win every game, but New Milton are pretty much there now.

“They need something disastrous to happen and I can’t see this happening.”

Basingstoke drafted in Richard Vinn and Bradley Neal to replace the unavailable Craig Williamson and Patrick Joseph for the trip to Liphook.

The home side won the toss and decided to bat, with opener Ryan Covey their star with a fine innings of 69.

He shared an opening stand of 71 with Ben Ungaretti (20), but the runs then slowed down, with only Suman Ganguly (48) able to trouble the bowlers.

Spin twins Matt Thankachan (5-46) and Dave Pistorius (3-41) led the fightback, while Dan King bowled tightly, the teenager returning 0-12 from his maximum seven overs.

The home side were eventually bowled out for 194 in the 49th over.

The Basingstoke reply never really got going as the top five made 55 between them.

Lawrence Benge (33) top scored with Thankachan (30) the only other notable contributor as the Bountymen were bowled out for 167.

Talking after the game, Froud said: “I felt we bowled better than the stats showed, but we never really got going with the bat, so we were disappointed to lose.”

This weekend, the Bountymen will be looking for a double over visiting Bournemouth, who are just behind them in the league standings in fourth place.

The Dorset side have won their last three outings, while the Bountymen have lost their last two.

The home side will welcome back all-rounder Graham Porter and Froud said: “We have to snap out of this losing streak and we need to senior players to turn in some big performances.”