SOUTH Wilts go into their final Time Pennant match at Alton on Saturday (11.30am) a commanding 55 points clear at the ECB Southern Electric Premier League summit.
Their emphatic 135-run victory at Totton & Eling – which coincided with Havant’s ‘losing draw’ at Ventnor and Alton’s triumph at third-placed Bashley (Rydal) – means the Salisbury club will probably only need to win three of their last five matches to clinch the title.
But skipper James Hayward says the side still has a lot of work to do.
“We’re not there yet and the next two games are going to be crucial,” he said.
“We’ve got a poor track record against Alton and Havant are full of confidence after winning their way through to the ECB Kingfisher Beer Cup semi-finals.”
Hampshire t20 star Glenn Maxwell played his farewell match before linking up with the Australia squad for next month’s series against Pakistan in the Emirates.
Maxwell went out in style, taking 6-98 against Totton & Eling to strengthen South Wilts’ claim for a first championship since 2004.
His six-wicket haul came on the back of a Premier League best 153 by Tom Morton, which set up South Wilts’ 135-run victory at the Linden Oval. Morton
hit two sixes and 19 fours in his knock, which lasted almost the entire length of South Wilts’ 308-5.
But, predictably, he played little more than a watching brief during the relatively brief spell Maxwell was at the crease. The big-hitting Victorian, who misses Hampshire’s Friends Life t20 finals
in Cardiff next month, thumped 35 off 19 balls in adding a quick-fire 47 for the second wicket with
It was the Morton-Jack Mynott show after that, the pair adding 124 for the third wicket – the emerging 17-year-old Wiltshire prospect scoring a
third successive half-century with a neatly crafted 58 before being caught behind at 181-3.
Morton moved serenely on to his century and then his maiden SPL 150 as South Wilts powered on to 308-5, James Hibberd making 34 not out.
The highspot of Totton’s 173-run response was a maiden Premier League half-century by teenager Tom Beresford. He made 53 and enjoyed two half-century stands with Ankush Mohod (17) and George Marshall (28) before being caught off Maxwell at 117-3.
David Taylor (31) kept the Eels score ticking along before Totton, at 153-4, collapsed in spectacular fashion. They lost their last six wickets for 20 runs and were dismissed for 173 - Maxwell (6-98) bowling unchanged, while Rob Franklin (2-30) and Stephen Warner (2-25) snapped up two wickets each.