SOUTH Wilts, five wickets down for 70, fought back bravely to finish ten

runs adrift of Havant's 244-5 in an absorbing tussle between the two former

Southern League Premier Division heavyweights.

They looked out for the count with the bulk of their top order back in the

Havant Park pavilion, but teenage pair Ben Draper (78) and Raff Hussey (44)

doubled the score with a sixth-wicket stand of 80.

Buoyed by the previous week's unbeaten century against Bournemouth, Draper

carried the fight to Havant deep into the game before becoming frustrated

and, at 205-8, being caught off left-arm spinner Chris Morgan.

Even then, South Wilts refused to give up the ghost with Luke Evans and

Steve Warner adding late runs to take the visitors' reply to 234, the pair

falling in quick succession.

The win came as a relief to Havant, who had lost their four previous games

and, uncharacteristically, were in a bottom three slot at the start of play.

Havant's total owed much to their skipper Chris Stone, who made an unbeaten

81 at a stage when the innings reached a potential crossroads at 167-5.

Having eased Havant to 113-1, Peter Hopson (51) and Stuart Ransley (38) were

dismissed within four runs of each other - the left-arm flight of James

Hayward (4-42) accounting for both batsmen and two others that followed.

But Stone, who struck a six and 11 fours, reasserted Havant's position to

give South Wilts a testing target on a pitch favouring spin.

Any realistic prospect South Wilts had of chasing down Havant's score was

considerably weakened when Tom Morton (9), Jack Mynott (5) and James Hayward

(7) departed by 34-3, two of them to Richard Jerry (3-44).

Arthur Godsal (22) and young Jack Stearman were also out of the contest at


Then came the Draper-Hussey inspired fightback which reignited the

contest and had Havant, for some while, glancing anxiously at the electronic

scoreboard. In the end, South Wilts fell ten runs short at 234 all out.

The second consecutive defeat dropped South Wilts to third spot, 55 points

behind runaway leaders Bashley (Rydal) and all but mathematically out of the

title race.