LEADERS South Wilts are suddenly casting an anxious glance or two over their shoulders as St Cross Symondians launch a late bid to whisk the Southern League Premier Division leadership from under their noses.

The Winchester club is hot on South Wilts’ tails at the top going into the final five-match leg of ‘white ball’ 50-over cricket which begin on Saturday.

Nine points currently separate the leading pair, whose head-to-head meeting at Bemerton on August 18 may well be a championship decider.

When the limited-overs matches resume on Saturday, South Wilts will entertain Lymington, St Cross go to Havant, and third placed Burridge, who are still in the fray, host Basingstoke and North Hants.

South Wilts began the last phase of all-day cricket with an 18-point lad, but had their position weakened when they were unable to force a victory over Alton.

They took the last seven Alton wickets for only 30 runs, but were unable to force a precious victory against the Brewers at Bemerton.

Having posted a competitive 264 themselves, they had nine Alton wickets down for 209 at stumps and had to be content with a ‘winning draw.’

A tense finale saw Alton lose three wickets for only four runs, but Arthur Godsal (4-16) got only two deliveries at last man Dan Scott, who survived the ordeal.

The draw meant their lead at the top of the Premier Division had been trimmed to a mere nine points by St Cross Symondians, who thrashed Bashley (Rydal).

Jack Mynott’s second Premier Division hundred of the season underpinned the South Wilts total – the batting/spin all-rounder having arrived at the crease with his side wobbling at 24-2.

Tom Morton (59), with his sixth half-century of the season, took the score on to 85 before Mynott and Ben Draper (39) doubled the total in a key mid-innings stand.

Mike Salmon (4-47) and Julian Ballinger (3-71) created inroads for Alton, but Mynott continued to shape the innings and went on to hit ten fours in a fine 108.

Alton were in the game for a long while after that.

Hampshire under-17 prospect Abhay Gonella anchored the Brewers’ response and with Michael Heffernan (47) provided the visitors with a perfect 112-run start.

Gonella went on to hit 90 (one six and ten fours) and with support from Alex Hammond (29) and skipper Dan Harris eased Alton to a threatening 179-2.

The Guildford RGS student’s dismissal at 195 unlocked the door for South Wilts, with Godsal and Luke Evans (2-40) making inroads.

South Wilts suddenly seized the initiative, but despite the late clatter of wickets weren’t quite able to press home a victory.

South Wilts II retained third place in Division Three with a 110-run victory over the third from bottom side, Havant II at the Park.

Owain Phillips (47), Rob Pittman (47) and Alex Lloyd (46) all narrowly missed out on fifties as South Wilts posted 252-7, Ben Fisher hitting a late 31 not out.

Havant were never at the races and dipped to 142 all out, Matt Burton taking 3-27.

The thirds County Division 2 promotion hopes are fading after a third successive defeat – visiting Sway crushing them by eight wickets at Bemerton.

Sway pair David Steadman (5-24) and Lloyd Scott (3-24) blew their top order away, South Wilts’ top five managing only 22 runs between them.

Teenager Jayden Atkinson (46) and Matt Burton (33) led an eighth-wicket rally, but South Wilts’ 158 never troubled Sway, with Tim Noble cracking a 15-boundary 80 not out.

However, the fourth team are climbing into promotion contention in Regional One North West, after a 92-run win at Redlynch and Hale lifting them to fourth.

Laverstock and Ford and Shrewton II appear to be contesting the championship itself.

Charlie Smith (74), Isaac Ashman (51) and veteran Tim Cowley (39 not out) took South Wilts to 210-3, before Redlynch were dismissed for 118, James Brewer (3-15) whipping through the tail.