South Wilts' left-arm spinner Tom Pearce celebrated a competitive career-best 6-18 against Havant - in his very first bowling spell in ECB Southern Premier Division cricket.

The 33-year old bespectacled slow bowler, who joined South Wilts as a seven year old back in the late Nineties, ripped through Havant's top order batting by having three opponents caught, two stumped and another trapped leg before wicket.

His six-wicket return enabled South Wilts to bowl Havant out for a dismal 100 and set up a convincing 144-run win for the Bemerton club, who lie third in the Premier Division log behind leaders Bashley (Rydal) and the Hampshire Academy.

Tom PearceTom Pearce

Beset by pre-season Havant, meanwhile, have slumped to bottom place - for the first time in the club's trophy laden history spanning 55 years of competitive Southern League cricket.

Reflecting on Pearce's figures, South Wilts skipper Ben Draper said: "We're all delighted for Tom, who's been such a great clubman, playing second and even third team cricket (often as captain), despite being a far better cricketer than that.

"He didn't get a bowl in his long awaited first team league debut against Lymington the previous week, but the situation was ideal for him at Havant. We didn't have Tom Grant (award winning Premier Division wicket taker in 2023), so having Tom there to provide some flight and guile was perfect."

Pearce struck his first blow on the stroke of tea, with Havant 63-1. Teen Ben Feeney's dismissal for an eye catching 24 triggered a calamitous collapse as nine Havant wickets fell for 37 runs in just 15 overs.

Rob Woolley, who recently joined Havant from Surrey Championship side Chipstead Coulsdon and Walcountians, looked a class apart as he held South Wilts at bay with a fine 61, an innings which contained ten boundaries.

Havant wickets fell like nine pins before Woolley became a sixth victim for Pearce at 98-8. Two runs later Havant were 100 all out.

James Degg battingJames Degg batting

Earlier, Tom Cheater (26) and James Degg provided South Wilts with a sound start before two wickets fell in quick succession, Harry Broderick caught out by a rather bizarre return catch.

The first ball Warren Turner bowled was struck back firmly - the Havant change bowler breaking his ring finger taking a fine catch. Next stop A & E. Havant left to field one short for the remainder of the innings. It never rains but it pours.

Degg (47) took South Wilts to 108-3 before handing the baton to Ben Draper (50) and Archie Fairfax-Ross (43) to pile on the Havant agony. Matt Falconer (30), making a welcome return after a recent car accident. eased South Wilts towards 244-9.

South Wilts have called up Sam Pittman to keep wicket against the Hampshire Academy at Bemerton on Saturday (11am) as skipper Ben Draper broke a finger playing for Wiltshire on Sunday.

South Wilts seconds suffered an eight-wicket thrashing by Premier 3 highfliers Parley after being dismissed for 116. Only Lawrence Yeo (29) and Sam Litchfield (26) made their mark.