Portsmouth and Hambledon neck and neck as Hampshire League Division 5 South East promotion race is set for tense finish

Portsmouth 3rds and Hambledon 3rds enter the final game of the Hampshire League season level on points in an enthralling promotion race.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 11:13 am

Both sides have 175 points from nine completed Division 5 South East matches, with both having won seven times and lost twice.

Third-placed Portsmouth, on paper, have the easier last-day fixture - against rock bottom Old Netley & Highfield 3rds.

Second-placed Hambledon, meanwhile, welcome fourth-placed Fareham & Crofton.

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Leaders Kerala 2nds - 10 points ahead of Hambledon and Portsmouth - will take the title if they beat a Portchester side who have lost their last four fixtures.

Tailenders Joel Lewis and Mackie Hobson and bowler Ben Reilly were Hambledon’s star performers in a 29-run victory over Portchester.

The Dons were staring at a double-figure total after Harry Robbins (3-12), Jack Girling (3-20) and Doug Noyce (2-22) had scythed through their order.

But thanks to an unbroken last wicket stand between Lewis and Hobson, Hambledon posted 129-9.

Remarkably, the pair - Lewis was 30 not out and Hobson 23 not out - were their side’s two highest scorers!

In reply, Reilly ran through the Portchester innings to claim a career best 7-14 off eight overs.

Neil Hards (25) and Robbins (18) had given Portchester a good start, but Reilly wrecked their hopes - running through the tail as the last four batsmen managed just two runs between them as the hosts were dismissed for 100.

A consistent top order batting display helped Kerala 2nds to a five-wicket success against Wickham.

Chasing 174, Jubin Karippai (47), Harikrishnan Korasseril 34), Nimal Valsan (33) and Rakesh Janardhanan (30) all played their part.

Opener Martin Rowe (65 not out) had batted throughout the Wickham innings as they posted 173-5 after electing to bat first.

US Portsmouth 2nds’ game at Steep 2nds was tied.

After the hosts had posted 160-7 after being inserted, USP lost their last wicket with the scores level.

Farai Shoko top scored for USP at the top of the order but extras (31) was the next highest.

Ekramul Basher (4-27) had been the best of USP’s eight bowlers used.

Railway Triangle 2nds’ hopes of avoiding relegation were dealt a blow with a 128-run thrashing by Havant 3rds.

Gary Hounsome starred for the hosts at Hayling Park, top scoring with 57 and then taking two cheap wickets.

Hounsome and Will Udy (55) put on 83 for the second wicket after Havant had been inserted on an overcast day.

Hounsome added another 57 for Matty Hayward (22 not out) as the hosts closed on 186-4 (extras 35).

After the break the Havant bowlers ripped through the Triangle top order, reducing the visitors to 9-4 before Louis Andrews (12) and Erik Hilman (11) added 27 for the fifth wicket. They were the only two batsmen to reach double figures as Triangle were routed for 58.

Hounsome (2-7) was the pick of the bowlers with Noel Baiju (2-20, Hayward (2-13), Tom Rait (1-9) and Nick Bennett (1-1) all among the wickets to give Havant a thumping victory

Rowner defeated Fareham & Crofton 3rds by nine runs at Bath Lane.

In a tight encounter, the 38 extras conceded by Fareham - including 22 byes and 14 wides - was to prove crucial.

Lee Phillips (34 not out) top scored with the bat as Rowner posted 175-8 (Peter Briggs 3-23).

Adrian Chesney (29) and opening partner Roy Townson (23) laid reasonable foundations in reply.

But Martin Bowman’s 4-15 burst put Rowner in command, and not even a spirited last-wicket stand between Martin Greenwood (21 not out) and Gary West (19 not out) could deny the visitors, Fareham ending on 166-9.

Anish Babu bagged 4-8 as Challengers Gosport were skittled for 96 by Solent Rangers at Privett Park.

John Joseph backed with 3-25 with just two Gosport batsmen - Parveendar Singh (29) and Mahesh Sasi (25) - reaching double figures.

Solent romped to a nine-wicket victory in 18 overs.

Compton skipper James Turner impressed with bat and ball as Rowner 2nds were handed a 136-run caning by Compton.

Turner hit 48 in his side’s 218 total (Ryan Dawtry 57) before bagging 4-14 as Rowner were routed for 82.

Adam Smyth (16) and James Osborn (15) were the only two Rowner batsmen in double figures.