SOUTH Wilts climbed into second place in the ECB Southern Premier League with a comprehensive victory over basement side Hook & Newnham Basics – but their eight-wicket win came at a cost!

Playing-wise, the influential James Hayward faces a spell on the sidelines after he pulled a hamstring trying to turn sharply in the field.

The club has also been hit in the pocket as Jack Stearman and Peter Rowe, who shared a decisive second-wicket stand, each hoofed a six on to the roof of the terraced houses standing back from the Bemerton leg-side boundary, breaking several tiles.

South Wilts have to foot the repair bill, which could run up to as much as £250.

South Wilts chased down Hook’s modest 143 to win with 22 overs to spare and moved within 15 points of the Hampshire Academy, who boast the only unbeaten record after winning all three matches.

Once he got his radar right Matt Burton (2-25), running down the Wilton Road slope, proved a handful and nipped out Hook openers Sam Lockwood and Matt Love (both eight) in quick succession.

Matt Buckingham (20) and Harry Robson steadied the ship by easing Hook to 61-2, but once again the visitors lost two wickets in quick succession and slipped to 63-4.

Josh Buckingham (25) hit two on-side sixes before falling to a sprawling one-handed return catch by Indian leg spinner Aaryan Sen, who finished with 3-24.

Robson (28) showed the value of occupying the crease and got stuck in - but he lost four partners before Josh Croom (4-42) got a leg-side caught behind verdict against him at 125-5 to leave Hook’s lower order exposed.

Jack Murrell (21) staged a late comeback of sorts, but Hook’s last five wickets fell for 18 runs, the final three adding just two runs to the total before the innings closed at 143 in the 35th over.

Sen, the Mumbai left-arm spinner, took two of the last three wickets to fall – he now has eight victims in two SPL appearances – and will clearly be a handful for opposing batsmen when the all-day ‘time’ cricket begins on Saturday week.

Tom Morton (18) promptly pumped two fours to get South Wilts away to a flier as Max Simpson bore the brunt of the batting attack, conceding 44 runs off 27 deliveries.

The more economical Murrell had Morton caught by Lockwood, but that was the only joy Hook had as Stearman and Rowe picked off the bowling and added 98, hitting 19 boundaries between them.

Stearman, with 12 fours in an unbeaten 67, chalked up his second 60-plus score in three knocks and is looking more positive the longer he stays at the crease.

Rowe was disappointed to have lost his wicket with 50 under his belt, especially with South Wilts within touching distance of victory.

South Wilts visit Bournemouth for the last of the initial leg of 50-over white-ball matches on Saturday, before hosting Potterne in the ECB Royal London National Club Championship at Bemerton on Sunday.

  •  Skipper Rob Pittman led the way as South Wilts seconds hauled themselves out of trouble and towards another significant win – by 28 runs over likely Premier Division Three strugglers Purbrook.

South Wilts were 43-4 (and shortly after 65-5) when Pittman arrived at the crease to hit a crucial 55 and almost double to score in a 64-run sixth-wicket stand with Tom Bolam (26).

They pushed South Wilts to 176 all out – a total beyond the reach of Purbrook, who slipped to 148 all out, teenage spinner Will Langdown taking 3-11.

  • Chalke Valley’s national Village Cup dreams ended with a 69-run defeat by West of England Premier Division One side Winsley, who will host Goatacre in the Wiltshire/Dorset county final.

The Bradford-Upon-Avon visitors posted a formidable 264-5 off 40 overs, before Joe Weld hit a brave 84 in Valley’s 195-9 reply.