Covid-hit Havant hold their nerve to beat Lymington and take their place in highly-congested Southern Premier League top five

Debutant Sid Mutta struck the winning run off the only ball he faced as Havant leapt into the top four in the Southern Premier League top flight with a tense victory over Lymington.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 1:27 pm
Havant's Peter Hopson top scored with 44 as his side beat Lymington by one wicket in the Southern Premier League top flight. Picture: Keith Woodland

Mutta, recently signed from St Cross 2nds, was only playing due to Havant having to rejig their teams due to player self-isolating.

Coming in at No 11 with the scores ties, Mutta hit his first delivery from Matt Metcalfe through the onside as Havant took their place in a tightly-congested Premier Division top five.

With leaders Bournemouth and third-placed St Cross both losing, the top five are now separated by a points average of just 1.3 with six games remaining.

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With self-isolations ruling out Freddie and Harry Gadd, new-look Havant also handed a 1st XI debut to Sam Woodgate and called up the ever reliable Julian Atkins.

Lymington won the toss and got first use of a decent wicket at a sun-kissed Havant Park.

But only opener Terry Crabb (30) and overseas player Ximus Du Plooy (22) reached double figures among the top six with seamer Richard Jerry (3-32) and spinners Chris Morgan (3-28) and Richard Hindley (2-31) among the wickets.

Crabb, meanwhile, fell caught and bowled to Ben Walker who had to come out of semi bowling retirement to plug a gap in the bowling resources.

Du Plooy fell to a good catch by Mutta at mid wicket off Jerry as Lymington - who had been chasing a sixth straight win - dipped from 66-2 to 83-6.

No 7 Henry Edwards (38) top scored but wicket-keeper Jeremy Bulled snaffled five catches as the visitors were bowled out for 157 in the 44th over.

Havant's response mirrored Lymington's. Opener Pete Hopson (44), Simon Loat (13), Morgan (24), Walker (16) and Hindley (12) all got starts but couldn't grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

Havant found themselves 32 runs short with only Bulled of the experienced batters left when Walker departed at 126-5.

Jerry (4) didn’t last long but Atkins (3) helped Bulled add a crucial 22 runs for the seventh wicket before he departed with five runs needed.

Alfie Taw (2) and Woodgate (0) were then dismissed - the latter after Metcalfe had brought the scores level with a wide.

Winchester College opener Wilf la Fontaine-Jackson scored a maiden century and leg spinner Kamran Khanna took a SPL best 6-29 as Hampshire Academy’s side inflicted a crushing 105-run defeat on St Cross on The Ageas Bowl’s Nursery ground.

La Fontaine Jackson, who recently celebrated his 16th birthday, hit 107 and shared a match-defining 115-run opening stand with Charlie Mumford (66) as the Academy posted 262-9 before Khanna took the last six wickets of the innings to dismiss St Cross for 157.

The result was another blow to Symondians’ title prospects.

Easton & Martyr Worthy raised La Fontaine-Jackson struck three sixes and eight fours in his maiden hundred, while Mumford completed a fine day’s work by bagging five victims behind the stumps.

With covid isolation procedures and Harry Came (at Derbyshire), Felix Organ, Tom Foyle and Brad Taylor all absent, St Cross were already struggling. And when left-arm quick Josh Croom (2-20) had Harry Trussler and Ed Ellis caught for ducks, their problems deepened.

Harry Foyle (13) and former Hampshire batsman Jason Laney (16) were both snapped up behind by Mumford as St Cross lurched to 44-4.

Playing his first game in two months and clearly in discomfort from an ankle injury, Jack Bransgrove - son of Hampshire chairman Rod made 35 and added useful runs with Simon Beetham (56), the former Lymington captain deciding attack was the best form of defence and striking two sixes and four boundaries in his half-century.

With a big total on the board, the scene was perfect for Khanna’s leg spin and with the field set deep he teased the St Cross lower-order into submission, taking the last six wickets as the Winchester visitors fell from 118-5 to 157 all out.

Leaders Bournemouth suffered a shock three-wicket defeat in a remarkable game against lowly Alton.

South African seamer Bash Walters - who had been lined up as Havant’s overseas player in 2020 before the pandemic struck - and Jude Wright skittled the table-topping hosts for only 97.

Walters returned figures of 8.1-3-8-4 and Wright bagged 2-24.

Alton appeared on course for a comfortable win after reaching 44-1 in reply.

But Rob Pack then ran riot, claiming 6-16 as Alton collapsed to 48-6 - losing five wickets for just four runs.

The visitors were 51-7 when Wright perished, but opener Abhay Gonella (38 not out) and No 9 Freddie Egleston (23 not out) added an unbroken 47 for the eighth wicket as Alton produced one of the shock results of the 2021 SPL campaign.

James Hayward struck his 13th SPL ton for South Wilts as the Salisbury side narrowed the gap on leaders Bournemouth with victory over rock bottom Hook & Newnham Basics.

Hayward struck 14 fours and three sixes in hitting 113 off 100 balls as South Wilts posted 236-6.

Hayward’s highest score remains the 141 he compiled against Havant six years ago.

Hook made a superb start in their run chase, skipper Josh Buckingham (62) and Sam Lockwood (32) putting on 101 for the first wicket.

Buckingham was in a hurry, hitting 11 fours and two sixes in a 29-ball flurry that ended when he was bowled by Jack Mynott (3-46).

Richard Willcock (17 not out) was the third highest scorer as Hook were dismissed for 172.