Teenager Jack Stearman celebrated his upcoming 17th birthday in some style with a maiden Southern Premier League century for South Wilts against the Hampshire Academy on the Ageas Bowl Nursery Ground. He hit 108 and shared in sizeable partnership with departing skipper James Hibberd, but finished on the losing side as South Wilts lost by eight wickets to the county youngsters. Stearman, who lives in the village of Chilmark 11 miles outside of Salisbury, arrived at the crease in the midst of a three-wicket over by Chris Searle (3-55), which had South Wilts rocking at 20-5. The teenage left-hander, who begins his A-level year at Gillingham School next week, went on to make 108 and share an innings changing stand of 159 with James Hibberd (62). Describing his knock as “an amazing experience”, he hit a six (pictured) and 16 fours and featured in the second highest sixth-wicket Premier Division partnership on record. A regular with Wiltshire Under-17s, Stearman had begun the season in South Wilts third and fourth teams and was quickly elevated after scoring consecutive unbeaten centuries in the club’s third and fourth teams, 145 v OTs & Romsey and 117 at East Woodhay. The pair took South Wilts to 179-5 before left-arm spinner Mom Abbas (3-32) bowled Hibberd (ten fours in his 62) and the last five poles fell for 30 runs. Any prospect South Wilts had of defending a modest 209 was quickly dashed as Tom South blazed a quick-fire 47 (one six and six fours) at the top of the Academy reply. Skipper Felix Organ took responsibility after that and proceeded to crack three sixes and 11 fours. When the victory target was passed with 16 overs to spare, he was 98 not out. Purbrook’s unexpected defeat at Fawley has left the door ajar for South Wilts II to claim second place in Premier 3, even though the Bemerton club lost by 23 runs at mid-table Hambledon. The pair go into a winner-take-all shootout at Bemerton on Saturday (12.30) with Purbrook 11 points ahead of South Wilts. But of Rob Pittman’s side snatch a victory, they could snatch the runners-up position behind Fair Oak. In-form Henry Glanfield (71) and Alex Willoughby (65) piloted Hambledon to 244-6, but South Wilts dropped to 113-5 (Tom Berzins 31) before Tom Pearce (62), James Wade (35) and Sam Pittman (24) took their reply to 221-7 by stumps.