SOUTH Wilts skipper James Hayward remains upbeat despite his side's failure in landing a remarkable fifth successive ECB Southern Premier League title.

They eventually finished fourth, some distance behind title winners Havant, who had lagged in South Wilts’ shadow in recent seasons.

He said: “We are always disappointed not to win the league, it’s one of the main reasons we all play.

“That said, we take great encouragement from the fact that we lost seven players over the winter from our Premier League squad, including Tom Morton who enjoyed such an amazing 2015, but still found ourselves in the running for the title with a month of the season to go.

“Our freshly-promoted second team also achieved a top five finish in their league (Division 2) which speaks volumes for the depth of this club.

“I’m not sure many sides would be able to achieve what we have this year with the loss of six or seven key players.

“I am looking forward to a winter of planning and coming back stronger in the 2017 season.”

Jack Mynott and South Australian teenager Jake Winter each scored over 500 Premier Division runs for South Wilts, while Steve Warner took 24 wickets and James Hibberd 22.

South Wilts do have some tangible success, though, because the three catches he took at New Milton earned Sam Pittman a half-share of the Premier Division Golden Glove award for the top wicketkeeper. He snared 27 victims.

Hayward congratulated Havant on their league and cup double.

“There is a lot of respect between the two of us and they were certainly the best side in the league this year and deserved the accolades.”