BASINGSTOKE and North Hants made a positive start to their Southern League Premier Division campaign, despite losing by 28 runs to visiting Bournemouth.

Last summer the Bountymen often struggled with the bat, unable to pass 200 runs, but yesterday scored 216 in their season opener.

Unfortunately, it proved not to be enough as the visitors scored 244.

Their innings was built around a superb 141 from Luke Webb, but the disappointing thing was, he was dropped twice on 31 and 81, so the home side could have been chasing a much lower target.

It started so well for the home side, as David Griffiths (3-38) had Luke Matthews trapped leg before in his first over.

Fellow opener Jake Hurley (23) was next to get caught behind by Lawrence Benge as Griffths snapped up his second wicket.

Mitch Stokes (2-21) kept the home side on top, as the visitors took to the 30th over to reach three figures.

Rakitha Perera (2-33) then also got amongst the wickets, but they were unable to remove Webb.

This proved to be very costly as in the 48th over, the Bournemouth batsman sent four sixes into the car park, as 28 were added in the space of six balls to help the Dorset side to 244-8.

Basingstoke’s reply did not get off to the best of starts with Ben Thane out for three.

This brought his former Hook team mate Jordan Hobday to the centre for his debut and he scored 29 in 36 balls.

However, his departure was soon followed by that of Matt Deadman and Mitch Stokes leaving the home side on 82-5, as Edward Denham helped himself to 4-28

Dan Belcher (30) and top scorer Tom Allam (47) a summer signing from Tichborne Park added 45 for the sixth wicket.

Allam and Griffiths (30) kept the game in the balance, as they took the score to 182.

However, the return to the attack of Dan Conway to join Dan Robinson saw the runs dry up, but the Bountymen did make it past 200 to collect a fourth batting bonus point as Ash Neal hit 20 from number nine.

He was then the last man out bowled by Denham as Basingstoke finished on 216.

Next week, Basingstoke are away at South Wilts.

Basingstoke captain Mitch Stokes said: “It was a positive start, but dropped catches have cost us, which it does at this level.

“I thought we bowled well until the end and batting wise we gave them some wickets with poor shots. So there is plenty to work on going forward.”