1st XI End Season with Defeat at Basingstoke

South Wilts skipper James Hibberd did not get the victory he so dearly would have loved in his final game in charge.

Instead his side were beaten at May’s Bounty by Basingstoke and North Hants who snatched fourth place away from them, so South Wilts had to settle for fifth spot in the Southern League Premier Division.

Hibberd was given a guard of honour at the end of the game as he marked the end of 11 years with team which included four title wins.

After the game Hibberd said: “It would have been nice to finish with a win, but we were beaten by a better team today. I was nice to finish with the likes of Mitch Stokes and David Griffiths, who have known for years.”

However, despite this being South Wilts final league game there season is far from over and Hibberd will now turn to coaching duties for the team as they hunt down another success in the T20 Cup a week on Sunday at the Ageas Bowl.

This weekend, they have a home warm-up game against Sparsholt who are Plate finalists.

Last Saturday, Hibberd in his final game for the team won the toss and decided to bat on a sunny day in Basingstoke.

Luke Evans, who had been in action with Surrey’s second XI during the week was promoted up the order to open with Tom Morton.

The pair put on 53 for the first wicket, as Basingstoke’s Martyn James and Chris Jolley were unable to find a breakthrough.

However, the introduction of David Griffiths (3-24) and Mitch Stokes (2-23) was to change things.

Evans was the first man out caught behind by Lawrence Benge, thanks to Griffiths and then last week’s century hero Jack Stearman, departed without scoring trapped leg before by Stokes.

Ben Draper then went the same way as Evans and Joe Weld were bowled by Stokes as the visitors found themselves 74-5.

Captain Hibberd would have loved to sign off with a big score, but he perished for 13 after an unfortunate run out, when a straight drive from Stephen Warner was deflected onto the stumps by Matt Thankachan.

It was number eight and former Old Basing star Ryan Murray who was to be the unlikely top scorer for South Wilts, as he hit his first ever half century at this level.

Along with Warner (20) they took the score into three figures, before Warner was bowled by spinner Thankachan.

This brought James Hayward to the centre and along with Murray the pair added 63 for the eighth wicket, before Hayward was caught by Stokes as Craig Williamson snapped up a rare wicket.

It was left to Murray and Ben Fisher (19 not out) to see out the final overs and take the score to 224-8.

Murray finished on 59 from 69 balls which included six fours and one six.

The Bountymen’s reply did not get off to the best of starts with opener Ben Thane trapped leg before by Luke Evans in the second over.

However, from there Chris Jolley (61) and Dan Belcher (50) set about building the platform for victory.

The pair put on 87 for the second wicket, before Jolley’s knock ended after 40 balls, which had seen him hit the boundary rope 12 times and clear it once.

His dismissal saw a mini collapse, as Warner grabbed a couple of wickets and suddenly Basingstoke were 102-4.

It was left to Belcher and young Hampshire star Toby Albert (47) to bat the home side into a winning position with half the overs gone the score had reached 165-4.

This left the home side needing just 61 runs from the remaining 25 overs for a victory.

It was South Wilts’ seventh bowler Joe Weld, who finally parted the pair as he bowled Belcher.

Any hopes this would signal another mini collapse, were soon dashed as Stokes looked in the mood to finish the game quickly as he hit 29 not out in 28 balls and along with Albert took the score to 215-6.

It was then left to Stokes and Griffiths to complete the four wicket win.

Rob Pittman