Sarisbury avoid the downpours to claim crucial Southern Premier League Division 1 win in battle to avoid relegation

Sarisbury Athletic claimed a vital victory in one of just six Southern Premier League games to survive the latest batch of wet weather on Saturday.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 9:33 am
Ricky Rawlins' unbeaten 47 helped Sarisbury Athletic win at Basingstoke & North Hants. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

An unbroken partnership of 66 between Ricky Rawlins and Rob Franklin in just under six overs saw Athletic successfully chase a target of 182 off 30 overs to beat Basingstoke & North Hants in Division 1.

Former captain Rawlins (47 not out) and Franklin (22 not out) steered the visitors to a May’s Bounty win that puts a bit of daylight between them and the two-team relegation zone.

Sarisbury entered the game just 0.2 of an average point above Andover, who are occupying the second relegation slot.

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But now, with just three matches remaining of a weather-hit campaign, they now enjoy a 1.2 points average lead. And they have the chance to claim back-to-back victories next weekend with a fixture against rock bottom St Cross 2nds.

After being inserted, Basingstoke - who had won their previous seven completed matches - posted 214-8.

Opener Matt Deadman (56) and captain Dan Belcher (30) helped them to 93-1, but Franklin (2-23) and Phil Jewell (2-37) reduced them to 156-7.

Middle order batsman Bradley Neal provided late-innings impetus, hitting 17 off the last over bowled by Sam Hill to finish with an unbeaten 52 off 38 balls with a four and three sixes.

After rain, Sarisbury were set a revised target of 182 from 30 overs - and promptly saw opener Chris Mottola dismissed by Neal for a duck.

Jack Lovett (37) and Elliot Smith (30) put on 60 for the second wicket before skipper Josh Hill (36 off 28 balls) kept his side up with run rate.

Sarisbury were 117-4 when Hill was dismissed, but Rawlins struck two sixes as the visitors scored 17 off the 25th over. Franklin then blazed three fours as a further 14 came off the 27th over.

That left Rawlins to hit the winning boundary with 14 balls remaining.

Portsmouth’s Division 1 game with St Cross was one of three to actually start on Saturday, only to be eventually abandoned due to rain.

Eager to end a run of three straight losses, they had restricted their struggling hosts to 125-6 - Lee Hungerford taking 2-32 on his first SPL appearance of 2021 and also running out opener Paul Hawkins.

Fourth-bottom Portsmouth - not yet totally free of relegation concerns - host Sparsholt next weekend.