TOM Pearce came within four runs of a maiden Southern Electric Premier League century when he made 96 against Fair Oak at Bemerton.

But any disappointment he experienced was cushioned by a tight 19-run victory which gave South Wilts their first win points of the season.

The bespectacled Pearce hit 14 boundaries in his innings as South Wilts progressed in fits and starts to 239-7.

Sam Pittman (31) made the early going, while Joe Cranch (23), Steve Booth (20) and Darren Sargent (28) provided support on the way through.

Mark Burton (3-37) removed both Fair Oak openers, but third-wicket pair Tom Hockenhull (75) and Ed Kemp (62) added 117 to put the visitors in the box seat.

Hockenhull’s dismissal – as one of three victims for Rob Pittman (3-46) – prompted a collapse and at 177-8, Oaks appeared beaten.

But Assad Abbas is a dangerous customer and his quick-fire 36 lifted Fair Oak to 220 before the Pittman brothers combined to dismiss him.