Half a point separates leaders New Milton from Sarisbury Athletic going into tomorrow’s crucial penultimate round of Southern Electric Premier League Division 1 games.
New Milton face a testing derby against Bournemouth at Chapel Gate (12.30pm), while Sarisbury Athletic visit improving Liphook & Ripsley, who rolled over Ryan Beck’s side last weekend.
Beck is certainly anxious to get his batsmen in a run-scoring mode at Chapel Gate against a Bournemouth side which had a five-match winning run ended at Andover.
With Basingstoke & North Hants set to visit Fernhill on the final day of the season, New Milton face a difficult finale.
“Hopefully, it will spur us on – as will the confidence we derived from beating Totton & Eling in the twenty20 Plate final last Sunday.
“That gave us a tremendous lift – just at the right time,” Beck said.
Bournemouth: Bridgen, Hayward, Miller, Schmulian, Hurley, Russell, Kidner, Matthews, Pack, M Jones, R Jones.
New Milton: Beck, N Park, House, J Park, Elliott, Lawes, L Beck, Loader, Collison, Gargaro, Watts, Staniford.
l With only a point to make up, Sarisbury could go top tomorrow evening if they win at Ripsley Park, but Liphook are Division 1’s form side having won their last four games.
At the opposite end of the table, all eyes will be on Holbury, where Fawley launch a last gasp bid to avoid the drop.
They host Hambledon, who have toppled both New Milton and Sarisbury Athletic in the past three weeks.
Fawley must win – and hope Hook & Newnham Basics stumble against already relegated Hursley Park at the KGV.
The Oilmen are boosted by the return of opener Tom Gates after knee surgery and Dean Godden.
Fawley: Marks, K Earl, C Earl, Gates, Streather, Parratt, Royan, Smith, Turriff-Smith, Woolgar, Godden.
l Hook & Newnham Basics captain Matt Love hosts Hursley Park minus Ben Thane, but with wicketkeeper/batsman Josh Buckingham back behind the stumps.
He says: “This is a huge game for us as we know victory will leave us not having to worry about what happens on the final day.
“It is frustrating to be in this position, we are focused on making sure we win.”
Basingstoke & North Hants will hope to carry on their winning ways as they entertain Andover at May’s Bounty.
All-rounder Graham Porter, who made a surprise return from injury last weekend, is set to miss the game, so impressive teenager bowler Dan King is likely to return.
Skipper Froud said: “We just want to keep winning now until the end of the season.”
With leaders New Milton losing their second game of the campaign last weekend, the Bountymen could still have their say in the title race when they face them in the final round of games.
Basingstoke play holders Yateley in the Finch Group Guy Jewell Cup final at May’s Bounty on Sunday, 4pm.