Hampshire claim honours in close battle with Northamptonshire
Hampshire claimed their first win of the season as they clinched victory over Northamptonshire in the penultimate set.
Hants were in dominant early form with Kelly Palmer, Dawn Simmonds, Clare Cheney, Sue Lowther and Maria Agozzino propelling the ladies' B side to a 5-1 triumph.
Northamptonshire pulled level as the home side took a 5-1 lead in the men's second-string game, with only Mick Savvery able to muster any early resistance..
However, the visitors then rattled off three on the trot through John Large, Dave Bonnett and Bradley Kirk to make it 5-4.
Northamptonshire won the next tie, but Nillson Pritchard pulled a set back to keep alive Hampshire's hopes of drawing the men's B game, before the home team took the last clash to win 7-5.
Hampshire took a 10-8 lead into the second day and extended it straight away as Lowther took
the opener in the ladies' A game.
The hosts then moved 2-1 up, before Joanne Senior pulled Hampshire level.
Once again Northamptonshire moved ahead,Â but Jo Rolls won the last leg to end it 3-3.
Hampshire needed six sets from the men's A match to bag an overall win and immediately secured half of them as Troy Butler, Steve Phipps and Chas Barstow put them 3-0 up.
Northamptonshire got off the mark in the fourth set but Luke Getty restored the visitors' three-set
advantage straight away.
The hosts took the next two sets, before Mike Symes won to make it 5-3 to Hampshire and put them just one win from victory.
However, Northamptonshire refused to roll over as they again won two sets in a row.
Fortunately for Hampshire, Andy Mitchell was on hand to give them an insurmountable lead before Northamptonshire won the final set as a consolation.
The 19-17 win and three bonus points push Hampshire up to mid-table in the premier division.
- LEE TODD