AN excellent display with the ball saw Fair Oak to a big Southern Premier Division 2 home win over Portsmouth & Southsea on Saturday.

Ben Smith set the scene by bowling Shaun Briggs in the first over, and the fast-medium of James Gradwell and spin of Monty McKenzie accounted for seven Portsmouth batters as the visitors subsided to 106 all out in 40 overs. 

Gradwell finished with 3 for 23 and McKenzie 4 for 13, with only three P&S players in double figures – Matthew Benfield (20), Max Goddard (15) and Dean Lee (26 not out).

Rain reduced the hosts’ target to 98 from 42 overs. Monty McKenzie hit 25 of the first 31 runs, and Sam Reed then took up the cudgels, steering Oaks past the fifty mark in partnership with his brother Harry.

Three wickets tumbled for 15, Ben Saunders taking 3 for 30.  But Gregor McKenzie brought the proceedings to a swift conclusion by hitting two sixes and three fours in a 13-ball 28 not out.  Sam Reed was still there on 24 as Fair Oak reached their victory target in the 22nd over of their reply, taking 21 points to their opponents’ 2.  Oaks now stand fourth in the rather congested middle section of the league table.

Persistent rain at Tichborne Park put paid to any hopes of cricket for Fair Oak II. 

In Hampshire Division 4 South Fair Oak III kept their good run going, beating Ryde by 30 runs at a rain-free Botley Rec.  Jacob Bucknell gave them a good start with 40, and after Nathan Day took two wickets an unbroken stand of 134 between Mitch le Tissier (84no from 48 balls) and James Castle (38no) steered the hosts from a precarious 78 for 5 to 210 for 5.

With Mark Oatley making 49, Guy Bonnett 41 and Andy Day 35, the Islanders made a good fist of the chase.  But in the end Oaks’ depth with the ball proved decisive.  Keir Smith, Tom Clark-James, Shun Buttle and Harry Clark each bagged a brace of wickets to restrict the visiting side to 180 for 9 from their 45 overs.

Fair Oak IV continued their march towards promotion from Division 6 Central with the clinical execution of Sarisbury Athletic V at Stubbington Rec.  Max Kirby was the destroyer-in-chief with five wickets for just nine runs, while Seb Chambers will also be happy with figures of 2 for 12.  Darren Byles made 29 of Sarisbury’s total of 56 all out.

In reply, Oaks lost their top three with just 8 on the board, but Lloyd Vincent (15) and Ian Rosenburg (23no) used their experience to steer the visitors to calmer waters.  Fair Oak reached a winning 57 for 4 in the 19th over.  With two games to go one more win should be enough to see them to their goal.

In Hampshire Division 6 South East Fair Oak V struggled to cobble together a side to play at Denmead. Their makeshift side made 86 all out with opener Harry Stone (23) top scoring and skipper Josh Wood hitting 17.  Sid Knight took four of their wickets for just 12.

After the interval, the home opener Graham Sherwood made 42 as his side cruised to 87 for 3 in 18 overs to put the seal on Denmead’s victory.