BOWLERS Eamon Devine and Adam Joy did the damage as United Services took a giant step towards sealing promotion from Hampshire League division two.
The duo were in inspired form in the 96-run win against Old Basing at Burnaby Road.
Opening batsmen Harry Gadd (71) and Tom May (105) laid the foundations for the victory with a superb 150-run opening partnership.
Then when the visitors set about chasing a target of 236 for four, it was promoted bowlers Devine (two for 36) and Joy (six for 31) who ended their challenge.
Services captain Matt Easton praised his players.
‘There was a lot at stake with third placed Old Basing looking to close the gap on us,’ he said.
‘We have another tough couple of games in the next two weeks so it was vital we won this one.
‘My players kept their nerve, remained calm under pressure, and produced the goods.
‘We were without a couple of regulars but the two bowlers who stepped up were fantastic
‘Adam Joy is only 16 but has appeared for me a couple of times this season after doing well in the second team.
‘He is an off-spinner and always seems to chip in with a few wickets.
‘In this game he showed excellent control and good flight with a bit of turn to make life difficult for the batsmen.’
After winning the toss, Services decided to bat on a good wicket.
They were soon rewarded as Gadd and May made the most of the glorious sunshine.
Running well between the stumps they kept the scoreboard ticking over to put their side in a commanding position.
‘They have an excellent understanding together at the crease,’ added Easton.
‘Opponents find it difficult to pin them down and they have got good starts pretty much every game this summer.
‘Tom notched his century despite being in the Tiger Tiger nightclub until the early hours of the morning.’
Runs became more difficult to come by once they departed annd the opposition took the pace off the ball.
The ever-resolute James Kent, though, added an extremely useful 25 runs to the Services total.
Old Basing looked threatening until Devine was introduced to the attack.
‘Our opponents were dangerous but Eamon clean bowled their openers,’ said Easton.
‘He produced a brilliant spell of seam bowling.’
Services are now set for a crunch clash at leaders Bishop’s Waltham on Saturday.
Easton said: ‘There is still a bit of work to do to make sure we get promoted.’