South Wilts 1st XI were bowled off top place and overtaken by Bashley (Rydal) after suffering a three-wicket defeat by the New Forest club, who overcame a late wobble to successfully chase down South Wilts’ 213 all out.

South Wilts’ batting strength was weakened by Australian all-rounder Ian Holland playing in Hampshire’s County Championship triumph over Warwickshire.

Beaten South Wilts skipper James Hibberd is concerned that, Will Wade and Tom Cowley apart, none of the top order half scored a Premier Division half-century this season.

“We’ve got quite a few youngsters that are making their way, but they’ve got to learn a bit quicker.

“There are people in our top order with plenty of proven ability, but established batsmen have got 20s and 30s and not gone on to make big scores.”

Teenage left-armer Bradley Currie put his Millfield Economics A-level study revision to one side to celebrate a maiden five-wicket haul as South Wilts were bowled out for 213.

South Wilts have found top order runs hard to come by this season and after Currie and Mitch Wilson had removed openers Tom Cowley and Will Wade, spinner Sam Thomson eked out Jack Mynott and James Hayward (30) to leave the visitors an uneasy 97-4 at lunch.

The direction the South Wilts innings would take hinged on lunch-break pair Joe Cranch (28) and Ben Draper (29), but both perished soon after the interval.

Tottering at an uneasy 120-6, James Hibberd (52 not out) and Luke Evans (22) added 67, but Currie’s return from the pavilion end produced a clatter of wickets and it needed a few late blows from Ryan Murray to get South Wilts to 213 all out.

“Brad bowls at the stumps five or six balls an over and thinks about every ball,” praised Bashley captain Michael Porter.

“If you bowl that straight, you’re going to get wickets. I don’t think enough bowlers do that. Perhaps they should try it !”

When Bashley replied, Tom Gates immediately struck a sweet extra-cover boundary, but perished leg before to Murray’s next ball.

Enter Australian left-hander Patrick Page, some of whose shots raised the game to a different level.

The South Australia prospect and Josh Digby (28) eased Bashley to 87-1 at tea before Murray grabbed his second wicket.

Page, with a straight six and 13 fours, made 77 before wicketkeeper Sam Pittman caught him at the third time of asking off Evans.

By then, Bashley had progressed to 132 and when Porter and Chris Vaughan (20) moved their reply to 172-3, the outcome looked inevitable.

But a triple-wicket breakthrough by Evans, with a Premier League best 4-52, saw Bashley stumble to 187-7 and put the match back in the balance.

Porter (43 not out) lost the strike, but Simon Watkins quickly struck four boundaries and scored 25 of the 27 runs Bashley needed for victory.

“We showed a bit of character, but basically we didn’t get enough runs on a decent BCG deck,” Hibberd reflected.