WHAT a week it’s been for South Wilts!
The team are back in their familiar top-of-the-table perch in the ECB Southern Electric Premier League and through to the last eight of the Southern Electric t20 Cup - two trophies they won so majestically last season.
An emphatic 58-run win over Havant – inspected by Tom Morton’s second consecutive Premier Division century – has given South Wilts a handy 13-point buffer at the top of the table going into Saturday’s Isle of Wight trip to Newclose and a round ten Time Pennant game with Ventnor.
The cup win over a powerful Hampshire Academy side has earned South Wilts a home quarter-final slot against either OTs & Romsey or Basingstoke & North Hants.
Tom Morton’s second consecutive century provided the platform for a crucial 58-run victory which dislodged overnight leaders Havant from top spot and ended their hosts’ six-match winning start to the season.
He hit 114, an innings which underpinned a formidable 298-5 in 64 overs – a target Havant, to their credit, tried hard to chase down, only to come up short.
The result effectively gives South Wilts a 13-point lead at the top, going into the second half of what is proving a rain ravaged season.
A dominant morning session, in which South Wilts posted 165-2, laid the foundations – Eddie Abel (53) being particularly forceful, hitting eight fours in a lively half-century.
Morton was content to play the support role in two pre-lunch stands, initially 97 with Abel and then Jack Mynott (39), who perished shortly before lunch.
The South Wilts captain may have been comparatively subdued before lunch, but he emerged from the break full of vim and vigour, piercing the boundary rope several times.
Morton went on to strike ten fours in an excellent 114 which, with Steve Riddle (39) and latterly James Hayward (21), James Hibberd and Harry Hawkins in support, eased South Wilts into a powerful position.
Undaunted, Havant didn’t give up in the second session – but they needed one of their top order to repeat Morton’s feat and make a big score.
The top seven batsmen all made starts – six of them were dismissed after making 25 – but with wickets falling at regular intervals, no significant partnerships were established.
The South Wilts spinners Rob Franklin (3-79) and James Hayward (3-36) took the credits.
Havant, 175-4 at one stage, were threatening while Richard Hindley (37) and Chris Stone (44) were together at the crease.
But when Stone was run out by Hayward from backward point, Havant’s hopes went back to the pavilion with him. Havant’s lower order ebbed away – 218-6 becoming an eventual 240 all out. South Wilts played well on the day, looking a polished outfit, and deserved their success.