Sarisbury Athletic must find one more win in their final game of the season to clinch a place in Southern Electric Premier League’s top flight after they hit the summit of division one, despite falling to another defeat.
David Banks’ side went down by 51 runs at Liphook & Ripsley – their third loss in five games.
But with New Milton beaten in a low-scoring affair with Bournemouth, Sarisbury now know if they can beat the Dorset outfit at home on the final weekend, they will finally seal their place in the premier division.
Banks, however, is looking for some serious improvement – especially from his bowlers.
He said: ‘We have played poor cricket for the past month and we were really poor again.
‘It’s the worst bowling performance I have witnessed from any club I have been at.
‘The wicket wasn’t very good and we let them get to 255.
‘We dropped catches, the bowling was full of full tosses and long hops – it was pretty embarrassing, to be honest.
‘It seems like we don’t want to go up and it looks like New Milton don’t want to do it either.
‘Nobody seems to want it but we definitely still do.
‘I haven’t got a clue what went wrong with the bowling.
‘If anyone had turned up to watch, they would have thought it was a fourth XI fixture.
‘We gave away 32 extras, so we almost bowled an extra six overs at them. I dished out a couple of rollickings on the pitch but it didn’t seem to work.’
Although Phil Jewell (four for 29) took wickets, they were expensive as they came from just four overs as Liphook reached 255 for nine.
But the Sarisbury skipper then promoted himself to the top of the order to make a quick start on a tricky batting pitch as his side attacked from the first ball.
They plundered 25 from the first over as they made their intentions clear but the innings lacked the big partnership that was required to complete the chase.
Only Matt Journeaux (63 not out) made a sizeable contribution as Sarisbury were bowled out for 204.
Banks said: ‘I’ve spoken to the lads and they still want to go up.
‘Whether you want to play all-day cricket or not, there is a title and a trophy to be won.
‘We need to do it for the people who have put in so much hard work for the club and the ground.
‘Now it all comes down to the final game.
‘Basingstoke have now got a chance and they play New Milton next week.
‘If they win and we lose, I think they will go up.
‘If we perform like we have done for the past month, we won’t win and we’ll waste a great opportunity.
‘We can’t keep getting chances like this. We should have had it wrapped up by now.
‘We need to find one more performance and that will get us home.’
Meanwhile, Hambledon’s inconsistency returned as they went down to lowly Fawley by five wickets.
The Dons, who have beaten Sarisbury and New Milton in recent weeks, were bowled out for just 115 as Nono Pongolo (61) was the only man to show any form with the bat.
Fawley then knocked off the total with relative ease inside 27 overs, despite Ian Turner (three for 18) stemming the flow.