The indifferent form of the first half of the summer seems a distant memory for South Wilts as they move to the head of the Premier League after defeating previous table-toppers Lymington on their own patch.
After winning the toss and batting, Lymington had a decent start thanks to positive batting from opener Ben Rogers, who punished anything loose from the South Wilts opening attack. However, poor running saw fellow opener Dominic Hand run-out by Jack Richards, before skipper Hibberd had Rogers caught by former-captain Hayward for 28 at better than a run-a-ball to leave the total at 44-2. A further 33 runs were added, before a collapse that took the wind out the sails of the Lymington batting ensued. Yet more ordinary running saw Richard Lock be the next to fall for 25, before 1XI debutant Matt Burton rearranged Ryan Scott’s stumps for 21, with the score now at 78-4.
Things would improve little for Lymington, as Burton struck again to trap the prize wicket of Oxford MCCU batsman Ed Ellis for only 4, with skipper Simon Beetham departing for 0 a few overs later courtesy of Luke Evans to leave the innings in tatters at 101-6. Only Hampshire 2XI ’keeper Calvin Dickinson went on to make a substantial score- a disappointment for Lymington, who saw three of their top 4 get into the 20s only to go no further. Dickinson did find some support in the lower order, with first Matt Metcalfe, before Metcalfe edged behind to Draper off Hibberd at 133-7, then Cameron Robertson, who battled hard for his 18*. However, the introduction of Jack Richards saw the back of Dickinson for a well-made 59, with the leg-spinner seemingly making a habit of dismissing a side’s best player in the last couple of games. Jack Mynott and Hibberd then took the final 2 wickets to end Lyminton’s innings on 168 in 44 overs. Wickets were shared, with the skipper claiming 3-23 and Burton 2-27.
Openers Will Wade and Tom Cowley were able to break the back of the run-chase, seeing off Lymington’s main weapon in Metcalfe. The score had reached 59 before Cowley failed to clear mid-off from the off-spin of Lock for 32. However, Wade continued as the glue of the South Wilts batting, ably supported by Mynott, before Robertson bowled the latter for 15. Wade then added a further 63 with Hayward, taking the score to 147 and within touching distance of victory. Hayward scored 40 in what was a pleasing return to form after a barren patch with the bat by his standards, before being dismissed caught-and-bowled by spinner Hand. Having bought up a deserved half-century a few overs before, Wade fell only 3 runs after Hayward to give Hand his second scalp; the opener faced 121 balls in scoring a 58 that removed the sting of the dangerous Lymington bowling attack. The final 19 runs required were comfortably knocked off by last week’s match-winners Draper and Sam Arnold to wrap up a 6-wicket victory inside 46 overs.
The only disappointment for South Wilts would be dropping 1 batting point in the run-chase, while their position at the top of the table sees them indebted to Burridge, who thrashed 2nd place Bashley by 10 wickets. The task of a fifth straight victory sees South Wilts face Andover away next Saturday.