Bashley (Rydal) tossed away a great opportunity of inflicting a second consecutive defeat on ECB British Gas Southern League champions Havant and extending their own winning start to the season.

Chasing down Havant’s 260-7, they were 173-2 and, requiring 87 off the last 15 overs, seemingly headed for victory Josh Digby (73) and Michael Porter, eventually ninth out for 87, appeared in little trouble as they picked off Havant’s seven-pronged attack during a 123-run third-wicket partnership.

But Digby’s dismissal – uncharacteristically caught on the boundary – triggered a seismic collapse which saw eight wickets fall for 64 runs and Bashley (237 all out) lose an enthralling tussle by 23 runs.

Bashley had earlier done well to claw their way back into a game which was definitely titled Havant’s way, with the champions 141-1 (Peter Hopson 32) at the 25-over drinks break.

Hampshire’s Brad Taylor (81) and Ben Walker (63) looked to be pointing Havant to a 300-plus score, but led by spinners Simon Watkins (3-28) and Digby, Bashley eked their way back into the game.

Havant slipped to 230-7 before important late runs by Jez Bulled gave them a competitive, but far from secure 260-7.

Bashley’s hopes took a knock when South Australia’s Patrick Page (19) picked out Richard Hindley at cover-point, but Digby and Porter wrested the initiative away from the champions with that century-plus stand.

Once Digby was dismissed, scoreboard pressure began to tell, though two huge sixes out of the ground by Mitch Wilson (19) off the expensive Taylor left Bashley needing 47 to win off six overs.

With the immaculate BCG’s short boundary, eight an over was theoretically gettable – but with Porter losing the strike at key times and batsmen trying to hit big instead of rotating the strike, they fell 23 runs short at 237 all out, Hindley’s 3-37 return proving critical.

A disappointed Porter reflected: “We bowled and fielded well to restrict Havant to 260 on an extremely good track.

“Diggers (Josh Digby) and myself batted well to get us to needing 87 off the last 15, but he got caught on the boundary at an unfortunate time.

“A combination of good bowing and mediocre batting, coupled with me not getting the strike, meant that we fell short of our target.”