HAMBLEDON effectively sealed their Southern Electric division two safety with a thrilling one-wicket win at Fawley.
Skipper Rob Atkins (43 not out) and his predecessor – former Hampshire spinner Ian Turner (23 not out) – guided their side to victory when they looked dead and buried.
After Fawley had posted 178 for six, the Dons stumbled to 96 for six in reply and then 132 for nine.
But the duo then showed their years of experience to each play captains’ knocks with a 48-run stand for the last wicket.
A delighted Atkins insisted he was always confident his side would get over the line.
He said: ‘It sounds crazy but I always thought we would do it.
‘It was probably harder to watch than it was for us in the middle.
‘But it was awesome to finish the job with Turns.
‘We knew there was plenty of time, we just had to bat.
‘In fact, we might have done it sooner and spared a few nails if Turns could have run a few quick singles!
‘We just couldn’t seem to get any kind of partnership going before that.
‘It wasn’t a difficult chase but after a few soft dismissals it turned into a thriller.
‘Will Bond (39) batted nicely at the top and Spencer Le Clerq (20) hit some great shots but no-one really stuck around.
‘We bowled brilliantly. To restrict them to 178 on a decent surface was a superb effort by everyone.
‘We just didn’t press home our advantage with the bat the way we would have liked.
‘I just wanted to whittle away at the target and in the end I found another old duffer to help out!’
Atkins was quick to pass on the praise to Turner, who handed over the captaincy ealier this term.
‘He’s an absolute hero, totally unflappable,’ said Atkins.
‘He has picked up a couple of knocks in recent weeks and was struggling with finger and calf injuries.
‘That’s the only reason he batted at number 11. He’s nobody’s rabbit.
‘But I won’t forget it for a while.’