Basingstoke and North Hants look to snatch title on final day of season

Ryan Connor impressed with both bat and ball last weekend

Ryan Connor impressed with both bat and ball last weekend

First published in Sport by , Sports Reporter

BASINGSTOKE and North Hants moved back into the Southern League Division One title race after the top two sides – New Milton and Sarisbury – both lost last Saturday.

It now all comes down to the final weekend of games, with the Bountymen, despite being third in the table, able to leapfrog the two sides above them.

Basingstoke complete their campaign with a trip to second-placed New Milton, while leaders Sarisbury entertain Bournemouth, who have won four of their last five outings.

The top two teams have had an awful end to the campaign. Leaders for the first half of the season, New Milton, have only won once in their last four games and Sarisbury have lost three of their last five.

In contrast, the Bountymen are enjoying a great end to the season and recorded their third straight win with victory over Andover by 25 runs in their final home game.

The home side won the toss, elected to bat and looked in trouble at 93-5, but they recovered to score 208-7.

This was thanks to a super innings from Steve Bucksey as he scored an unbeaten 72, from 122 balls, with Dan Coombs (38) and Ryan Connor (31 not out) the next best scorers.

The visitors’ reply did not get off to the best start as Martyn James (2-27) and Ryan Connor (2-23) reduced them to 44-4.

Byron Haycock (55) and Robbie Hadfield (38) added 66 for the fifth wicket, but after this Andover fell behind the run rate and finished on 183-9.

Teenager Dan King, on his return to the side, did well again, with tidy figures of 0-13 from his five overs.

Looking back on their latest victory, Basingstoke captain Chris Froud said: “Steve (Bucksey) really held our innings together and the tail-enders gave us a total we could defend.

“The key moment was when Richard Vinn ran out their top scorer and we were in control from then on.”

The team are now focused on their trip to New Milton.

Froud said: “We know what we have to do and Bournemouth are playing well at moment, so it is possible they could win at Sarisbury.

“We have to make sure we beat New Milton first, and this will be our main focus.”

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