Hook & Newnham Basics made a decent fist of it before conceding a three-wicket defeat to Havant on their rain affected ECB Southern Premier Division debut.

They appeared to have a decent first innings total in sight, but when rain interferred they lost momentum and had to be content with 240-9 – Havant knocking off a target score of 221 seven wickets down with 13 balls to spare, writes Mike Vimpany.

Hook made an encouraging start on a heavily rolled Havant Park surface, with Sidcup recruit Sam Lockwood (36) catching the eye with several powerful square-cuts to the cover boundary before being bowled by the emerging Freddie Gadd (65-1).

Ben Thane (28), who missed what there was of the 2020 season with a torn Achilles, was the more circumspect of the pair, but holed out to a fine running catch in the deep by Simon Loat (99-2).

Emerging teenage left-hander Harry Robson followed up his unbeaten century in the pre-season friendly against Liphook & Ripsley with a mature and encouraging 70.

But his fourth-wicket partnership with Matt Love (32) was thwarted by rain - which twice caused the players to leave the field - just as Hook were looking to push on. Robson was eventually caught off the left-arm spin of Havant skipper Chris Morgan (2-35) at 205-5.

Their innings interrupted, Hook lost some of their momentum and Havant took wickets on a regular basis, with Freddie Taw, Richard Hindley, Morgan and Freddie Gadd sharing eight of them.

Duckworth Lewis calculations (introduced into SPL cricket for the first time this summer) meant Havant required 221 to win from 42 overs - and they got off to a blistering start with Ben Walker to the fore.

The left-hander, who had six Premier Division championship winning medals in his cabinet and returned from 2019 title winners Bashley (Rydal) this season, dominated a 33-run start with Peter Hopson before the latter became Lewis Watts’s first Premier League victim.

May’s Bounty raised George Metzger (46), who makes an 80-mile round trip from his Basingstoke home to play in Havant home matches, joined Walker (59) and the pair matched each other shot for shot, running the Hook fielders ragged in a fine stand of 84.

Their partnership put Havant way ahead of the run rate before Hook fought back, breaking the third-wicket stand, and regularly taking wickets to leave the outcome in the balance at 157-5.

But Harry Gadd scored a significant 53, losing five separate partners before Havant got home with 13 balls and three wickets to spare.

Hook skipper Josh Buckingham reflected: “We have to learn fast at this level but were very happy with certain aspects of the performance at Havant.”

Hook & Newnham Basics face another stern test when much fancied St Cross Symondians visit the KGV on Saturday, 11.30.