A calamitous batting collapse in which six wickets fell for 30 runs cost South Wilts the initiative – and later the game itself – as hosts St Cross Symondians continued their defence of the ECB Southern Premier League title with a comfortable win. 

South Wilts fell from 128-2 to 158-8 and were unable to defend their 222 all out – a total St Cross breezed past with 13 overs to spare, Jack Bransgrove hitting a career-best 121. 

Aided by some indifferent bowling and sloppy out-cricket, South Wilts got away to a fine start and were rattling along at almost seven runs an over when opener James Degg (39) gifted Charlie Mumford a stumping off Charlie Gwynn (3-36). By then South Wilts were 80 without loss after 11 overs. 

Prior to that, Australian Sam Beer and Harry Foyle struggled to find their line, with 17 extras (mainly wides) boosting the scoring rate.  

South Wilts lost Peter Rowe at 110, but it was the departure of Jack Stearman that triggered the collapse.   

Salisbury Journal: Jack Stearman.Jack Stearman. (Image: Mike Vimpany)

Pic: Roy Honeybone

The bespectacled left-hander looked in good nick, playing some flowing extra-cover drives in an eye-catching 52 before being trapped leg before wicket by Felix Organ (2-25). 

Symondians’ three-pronged spin attack carved through the South Wilts middle-order – Harry Broderick (18) holing out at deep mid-wicket before Mo Rizvi and Archie Fairfax-Ross departed in successive deliveries. 

Four wickets had fallen for five runs as South Wilts lurched to 158-8 when Matt Burton joined teenager Matt Falconer (15) for a late rally which yielded 47 runs and at least gave the visitors a modest total to defend. 

Burton, now a regular for Hampshire seconds, biffed 38 before Ben Foster (2-9) dismissed both the ninth-wicket pair to leave South Wilts 222 all out.  

Bowlers are seldom able to contain Bransgrove at the crease and by the time Tom Lewis (2-32) broke through with the St Cross reply at 52, he had already smacked two sixes and seven fours! 

There was to be no respite as Bransgrove went on to clear the rope three times and hit 18 fours – 90 of his maiden 121 coming in boundaries. 

He shared a century stand with Charlie Mumford (51), who notched his third successive fifty before Degg (2-12), introduced as a seventh bowling option, grabbed South Wilts a second bowling bonus point. 

Simon Woodruff and Charlie Gwynn completed the formalities with 13 overs to spare.