REDLYNCH and Hale first team maintained its second place spot in Hampshire County Division Three North with a maximum points 118 run victory over OT's & Romsey III at East Tytherley, writes ANDY CHURCH.

James Taylor had no hesitation in batting first on yet another very hot afternoon.

The home attack toiled in the sun as Ian Tanner (49) and Dave Webber (43) crafted a fine 103 run opening partnership but that only brought to the crease the in form Glenn Willoughby, who proceeded to smash the cherry to all corners with 10 fours and five maximums in his unbeaten 90. When he lost Andy Soutar (25) with the score at 168-3, in came Kev Hopkins who also wanted a piece of the action.

The 200 came and went as Hopkins bludgeoned seven sixes and a four as he raced to an unbeaten 51 as the relentless heat sapped the energy of the fielding side. When the innings closed, the total stood at a mighty 292-3 and looked ominous for the hosts.

Having had a long rest, the R&H bowlers were keen to get going and it wasn't long before Ben Brown (2-49) had home skipper Mark Allen (12) safely pouched by Webber.

Paul Longlands took charge at the other end and was using his experience to good effect, but his team mates were unable to stay with him until Charlie Evans launched into some boundaries as the pair added 74 for the fifth wicket.

Hopkins (2-15) and Russ Church (1-36) chipped in with wickets before another star turn from young George Hayes took the game away from the hosts. Hayes took three wickets (all bowled) for just 18 runs in six overs and when Taylor executed the coup de grace to castle the young Longlands, dad was left on 79 not out as OT's & Romsey fell well short of the line on 174 all out.

A cock-a-hoop Taylor was delighted although warned of too much complacency being only half way through the campaign and with difficult fixtures ahead.

The second XI remained unbeaten in Regional Div One North West, but for the second week were left frustrated as their opponents forfeited. This time it was OT's & Romsey IV.

Meanwhile, at Hale, the thirds enjoyed an excellent victory, if not surprising over Regional Three North West leaders Broadchalke, who were hitherto unbeaten.

Batting first the hosts knuckled down, determined to bat the overs, which they safely did, posting 171-6 at tea.

An unbeaten stand of 76 from Mick Wright (25 not out) and Graham Smith (49 not out) largely responsible.

In reply, the leaders launched an aggressive start but Mercer fell to Wright for just eight, whilst big hitting Matt Irvine showed his intent, but sliced a drive to point and was safely pouched by Jack Cobern for just 22.

After that, wickets tumbled regularly and Wright completed a splendid five-fer reaping 8-3-23-5.

Cobern (2-8) chipped in before Richard Barlow bowled one ball to take the last wicket, thus completing a roll-over hat-trick, having taken two victims with his final two deliveries last week.

A comprehensive 22 point win by 114 runs to maintained their second spot.