Havant’s quest to regain the Southern Electric Premier League premier division title ended in disappointment as they crashed to a 48-run defeat in their winner-takes-all showdown at South Wilts.
The visitors restricted the hosts to 175 for nine on a tough batting pitch with Chris Morgan (four for 39) the pick of the bowlers.
Their normally-reliable batsmen crumbled to 40 for six in reply before Harry Hovey (29) and Stuart Ransley (38) put on 56 for the seventh wicket.
But when Ransley was adjudged to have been caught behind in a dubious decision, Havant’s resistance came to an end as they were bowled out for 127.
Player-coach Pete Hopson said: ‘It didn’t go the way we hoped and it was really disappointing.
‘We didn’t approach the game any differently. It was one of those days.
‘We bowled pretty well and their score was about par.
‘Batting-wise, the top six just didn’t go well.
‘It was a mixture of good bowling and bad shots.
‘We gave it a good shot to get back into it but when you are 40 for six in a game like that, the chances of winning are fairly remote.’
It was only Havant’s second defeat of the league campaign – and both were at the hands of the champions.
Hopson said: ‘It’s just a shame our two worst days of cricket have happened to be when we have played South Wilts.
‘We’ve lost five games of cricket all season across all the competitions.
‘A lot of teams out there would be happy with that.
‘We defended our 50-over pennant, which is a nice reward to show we have played some good cricket.
‘But nobody is sulking. We will be back next year and will try to win it again.’
It was a disappointing day for the whole club as Havant II were relegated from division two.
Hopson said: ‘It’s unfortunate.
‘We’d obviously like them to be in division two, rather than division three.
‘But what’s more important is that the young players at the club get the opportunity to play a good standard of cricket.
‘I’m sure they will be fine next year to get themselves promoted again.’