James Hayward, South Wilts’ chairman-cum-cricketer, wants the Bemerton club to push on and get right in the Southern Premier League leadership mix.

A thumping nine-wicket win at Lymington has pushed South Wilts into fourth place in what promises to be an extremely open league.

“I honestly wouldn’t like the forecast the outcome this summer,” he said.

“It’s already apparent that as many as eight of the ten Premier Division teams are capable of beating each other and, after five rounds of games, there’s precious little in it at the top.

“That’s why it’s important we build on the Lymington success, starting against New Milton this Saturday.

“The nine weeks of all-day cricket are normally critical, so we must find a level of consistency, with both bat and ball.”

A five-wicket new-ball spell by James Hibberd left Lymington reeling at 27-5 and set up an easy win for South Wilts on a seam bowler friendly Sports Ground surface.

The South Wilts skipper tore into Lymington’s paper thin top order, clean bowling openers Ben Rogers and Dom Hand before having Aussie James Grady caught behind.

Ryan Scott and captain Simon Beetham quickly followed as Lymington found themselves five down inside the first hour’s play.

“It was typical Hibby wicket-to-wicket bowling, nipping the ball about off a damp surface and generally causing mayhem,” said Hayward, who is the only club chairman in the SPL still holding down a playing role.

Matt Metcalfe’s unbeaten 27, aided for a while by island pair Ben Attrill and Josh Procter, kept South Wilts at bay, but a three-wicket burst by Luke Evans (3-19) reduced the hosts to 70-9 before Kieran Moors biffed a quick fire 15 at the end.

It took South Wilts just 13.2 overs to knock off Lymington’s 91 –left-hander Tom Cowley (42) hitting seven fours in a punchy 42.

Tom Morton remained unbeaten with 45, including a six and six boundaries.

“It was a much better all-round performance than against Alton the previous week. We bowled well and held our catches,” Hayward added.

* Joe Cranch has top scored for both South Wilts’ first and second teams in the past two weeks, having made 78 in the Premier Division defeat at Alton.

Back on familiar second team soil at Bemerton, he notched an unbeaten 84 as South Wilts II posted 198-9 (Tom Berzins 37) before bowling Gosport Borough out for 136, James Wade 3-19.

* South Wilts’ thirds won their fourth successive match since gaining promotion, beating Ventnor II by seven runs in a Steephill nail biter.

Edward Wade’s unbeaten 82 underpinned South Wilts’ 215-8 (Adam Prescott 46), while Ventnor finished at 208-4 (Neil Westhorpe 89), Tom Bolam taking 2-35 and Tom Lewis a tidy 1-25 at the start.

* The fourths completed a ‘four-in-four’ success day for the club, rolling Great Durnford out for a meagre 65 (Josh Croom 4-22) before racing to a nine-wicket win on the back of George Edwards’ 46.