An agonizing narrow defeat at Waterlooville has, major upsets aside, condemned Fair Oak to another season in Southern Premier Division 2.

Inconsistency with the bat has been Oaks’ Achilles heel all season, and that was emphasised on Saturday when only two batsmen reached double figures. Gregor McKenzie, in a relatively restrained mood, made 21 of the first 35 runs before being third out.

Oaks then staged a partial recovery with a stand of 38 between Charlie Gwynn and Max Watson. But from 73-3 the innings collapsed to 95 all out, with Archie Reynolds and the ageless Dominic Carson taking 2-25 and 2-18 respectively. Skipper Gwynn was sixth out for 46, and took to the field after the break knowing that his side would need a supreme effort with the ball if they were to climb out of the hole.

They nearly achieved it. Alex Shephard (19), Namish Verma (11) and Haydn Knight (17) piloted Waterlooville to 84 for 5, and at that point a home win seemed a formality. But Rhys Oxley’s 4-22 reduced them to 89-9. Just when Oaks seemed likely to wrestle victory from their opponents’ grasp, Last-wicket pair Ashan Silva and Chris Parker scrambled the last few runs to take the total to 96-9 with just three balls to spare.

Oaks, now fourth in the table, can still finish in the top two - but only if they chalk up a near-maximum points tally in their final match at home to Fawley next week and two of the three teams above them lose heavily.

By contrast Fair Oak 2nd XI’s promotion from Hampshire Division 3 South is still very much in their own hands after an important, and close, win over Locks Heath 2nd XI at Lapstone Park.

Dave Illsley (24) and Adam Trigwell (36) gave Oaks a brisk start, but they became becalmed in mid-innings against the accurate Joe Baker (2-35), Ian Stobbs (2-53) and James King (2-16). It was left to skipper James Todd (42) and Alex Chessell (23) to provide some accelerate at the end and steer their side to a healthy 188-7.

After the break Locks Heath started slowly, taking 10 overs to reach 14-2 against accurate opening spells from James Featherstone (2-17) and Nick Bass (1-29). Stobbs (59) and his captain Andy Booth (45) then turned the match on its head, steering the visitors to 140-3 with 10 overs left.

But Chessell, on leave from the army, turned in an excellent spell of 4-36 as wickets suddenly started to tumble. The Heath finished nine short on 179-9, but have probably done enough to ensure their own survival. Todd’s men, meanwhile, go into their final fixture at Follands knowing that another win will almost certainly ensure a top-two finish.

Fair Oak III look to have missed out in their own promotion bid in Division 5 South after losing in the last over to Southampton Community II.

Good knocks from James Castle (50) and Freddie Eley (36no) enabled Oaks to reach 169-7, Mukesh Sharma (2-28) the pick of the Community bowling. A trip to A&E then temporarily reduced Oaks to nine men, and that was enough to swing the balance in the Community’s favour.

Opener Ashish Gajjar carried his bat for 70 despite a superb spell from colt Albert Voaden, who, given the task of opening the bowling, responded with a spell of eight overs, 4-22. Occasional bowler Aaron Rowles bagged 2 for 18, but Gajjar received good support from Mahamed Alli (42) as the Community reached a winning 173 for 9 with five balls to spare.

In Hampshire Division 6 South East, Fair Oak IV’s scheduled game against Purbrook III was called off as Purbrook were unable to raise a side.