SOUTH Wilts struck a significant psychological blow ahead of their upcoming ECB Southern Premier League title defence when they mauled the St Cross Symondians attack for a thumping 319 for five at Lower Bemerton.

The clubs, who finished first and second in the SPL in 2021, meet again at Wilton Road on Saturday week in a curtain raiser to the new season – and there is little doubt South Wilts will go into the match with a distinct spring in their step.

Neither side was quite at full strength for this 50-over warm-up match, but the St Cross bowling attack on May 7 may not be too far short of the one Ben Draper and co sent to the cleaners.

St Cross had already come under fire from Arthur Godsal (75) and Peter Rowe (46) in a 115-run stand before Draper arrived at the crease to cream an unbeaten 83 off 54 balls.

The South Wilts skipper hit 14 boundaries. In all, South Wilts breached the rope 36 times, with five maximums, two by Raff Hussey in a late 29-run flurry.

St Cross slipped to 62 for four before their reply took any meaningful shape – Simon Beetham (79) joining Harry Foyle (45) to give their eventual 196 all out an air of respectability.

Tom Lewis and Tom Grant shared six wickets, while 16-year old spinner Kit Blomfield continues to impress, returning one for 27 off 10 overs.

St Cross did emerge victorious from the second XI fixture between the sides in Winchester, where Henry Smith (53) top scored in his side’s 198. Former Hampshire batsman Jason Laney, once of St Cross, hit a match winning 85 for the hosts.

  • In the National Counties T20, Wiltshire bounced back from two defeats by Dorset last week to win both matches against Herefordshire at the South Wilts club in Salisbury.

There were useful runs at the top of the order from Warwickshire left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott, who made 38 in the first match and 22 in the second as Wiltshire won by six wickets then seven wickets.

Wiltshire captain Ed Young’s 41no in an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 78 with Neil Clark saw them home with 25 balls to spare in the second game.