Havant put one hand on Southern League crown

Ben Walker. Picture: Mick Young
Ben Walker. Picture: Mick Young
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Havant are virtually assured of the Southern League premier division title after beating Hampshire Academy at the Ageas Bowl.

Their 139-run success leaves them 21 points clear of nearest-rivals Burridge at the top of the table.

The two sides meet on the final day of the season at Havant Park – where Burridge face an almost impossible task.

Havant made sure they remained in charge with a commanding performance against the Hampshire youngsters, who played England seam bowler Reece Topley as a batsman.

Electing to bat first, the visitors posted 319 with the impressive Ben Walker reaching 98 off 106 balls, including 12 fours.

Stuart Ransley (33) and Chris Stone (33) added middle-order stability before Andy Gorvin raised the tempo.

Batting at number six, Gorvin smashed 47 off 28 balls and was supported by Cameron Prentice, who fired 26 off the 15 he faced.

Josh McCoy (four for 48) was the pick of the bowlers for the Academy, who made a useful start to their chase – putting on 87 without loss.

But once Ben Duggan was stumped by Jeremy Bulled off Chris Morgan the visitors crumbled.

Morgan proved almost unplayable as he took six for 25 with the Academy bowled out for 180.

Burridge did everything they could to maintain pressure on the leaders by beating Lymington by seven wickets.

The visitors won the toss and skittled their hosts for 98.

Nick McMurray (three for 26) and Dan Stancliffe (three for 22) ravaged the home side’s top order, with Geoff Dods (two for 29) and Sullivan White (two for 13) mopping up the tail.

Dodds (42) and Alex Willoughby (27 not out) helped Burridge cruise to an easy win.

Vice-captain Dan Hewitt said: ‘Havant are one heck of a side and for us to be pushing them so close is a terrific achievement.

‘What we have achieved is well above expectations and we can be proud.

‘We will go to their place to enjoy ourselves and looking to pick up the win that will earn us the 50-over title.’