Jeremy Bulled celebrated his maiden Southern League premier division century as he powered Havant to a hard-earned 22-run win at St Cross Symondians.
Bulled, promoted to an unaccustomed position at the top of the order, produced a classy innings of 114 to lay the foundations for victory.
He struck nine fours and a six before finally being bowled at the end of his 153-ball innings.
Bulled, 38, had gone close to grabbing his maiden century last month when he scored 90 in Havant’s winning draw at Bashley.
And once again he proved the man his side could rely on under pressure.
‘Jez was only opening the batting because we were missing a couple of players,’ said stand-in captain Andrew Gorvin.
‘He has done it many times before, so we knew we could rely on him.
‘After the first 10 overs we were playing catch up but Jez remained very calm and assured. It was a very classy innings and he never looked in trouble.
‘That is his first Southern League century and an important personal success.
‘It was his steady innings that gave a few of us the chance to hit runs in quick time and push the rate along.’
Stuart Ransley (21), Christopher Stone (35), Gorvin (30) and Richard Hindley (27 not out) were all able to benefit from Bulled’s effort.
It allowed the visitors to reach 275 for six off 50 overs – a score Gorvin felt confident his team could defend.
St Cross, however, had other ideas and raced to 60 for one in the first 10 overs of their reply.
Tom Foyle (104), in particular, took a liking to the bowling of Gorvin as the hosts picked up momentum.
But a fine second spell from Richard Jerry (two for 27) helped Havant wrestle back some control.
Gorvin said: ‘I was starting to get a little concerned.
‘We had to work very hard between the 10th and 35th overs to put the squeeze on them.
‘It was a good batting track but Richard produced a fantastic spell of bowling when we brought him back into that attack.
‘He got rid of their danger man (Foyle) – forcing him to play on – just after he had reached his century.
‘From that point I felt we were more in control.’
Thomas Vanderslik (three for 37) produced a good spell and along with Richard Hindley helped Havant remain in control.
‘In the final six overs we managed to pick up a couple of important wickets which allowed us to keep the initiative,’ added Gorvin.
‘The win keeps us on track in the league.
‘We know if we win our final three games the title is ours.
‘It is a case of keeping things going right to the very end.’