Ricky Rawlins struck a brilliant century for Sarisbury Athletic as they got their season back on track with a 120-run win at Alton.
The opener cracked a fine 139 from 166 balls, which included 16 fours and one six, to provide the backbone to their total of 311 for eight.
It was a welcome contribution as the Allotment Road outfit ended a run of five straight defeats which has seen them sink to second from bottom of the Southern Electric Premier League premier division.
The innings got off to a dreadful start with Ryan Covey out for a duck but Rawlins anchored things in impressive style as the wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end.
David Banks (24) and Ryan Burl (26) came and went to leave Sarisbury in trouble at 164 for six.
But a crucial 113-run stand between Rawlins and Jack Lovett (44) for the seventh wicket boosted the Sarisbury total towards 300 before Dan Goldstraw (17) added useful late runs. Goldstraw then delivered another impressive spell of bowling as he helped himself to seven for 60 from 20 overs as Alton were bowled out for 191 in reply.
Skipper Matt Journeaux believes the improved batting display was the missing piece of the jigsaw for his side.
He said: ‘We knew once we got our batting sorted and started posting totals we would be okay.
‘We have been bowling and fielding well, even in the games we have lost.
‘If someone plays that anchor role and gets a big score, it makes things a lot easier to build scores.
‘If we get scores of 250-plus, we know we will win games.
‘When you have lost four or five in a row, you do start to worry a bit.
‘I knew it was a massive game – it was must-win really.
‘If we didn’t win that one, we knew we were going to be in a dogfight so it was a key game.
‘Ricky obviously batted really well. All year he has been getting himself in and then getting out.
‘But he had a knock in a midweek game and got 70-odd not out where he refused to give his wicket away.
‘He took that same attitude into the game.
‘He got himself in and as wickets started to fall around him, he was happy to stick around.
‘We were reduced to 164 for six so it was in the balance at that stage but Jack joined him and they took it to Alton’s bowlers.’
Journeaux also had praise for Goldstraw but revealed he’d had to have a rethink with his bowling changes.
The skipper said: ‘Goldie didn’t get many in his first eight or nine overs and I was about to take him off.
‘But then he got another wicket and started chipping away and taking wickets so I couldn’t!
‘He swings it around corners even when the ball is 40 overs old but it was a good team performance.’