A trip to Portsmouth & Southsea’s picturesque St James’s Hospital proved fruitless for Fair Oak on Saturday in Southern Premier Division 2.

The hosts batted first, and made Oaks struggle with the ball.  A stand of 61 between Jack Davies (29) and Usman Akram or the third wicket was followed by one of 119 between Akram and Ollie Kanavan, taking P&S to 210 for 4.  Akram’s run out for 92 was followed by Kanavan’s wicket, the keeper becoming the first of two victims for Sriram Yegnasubramanian (2 for 54). 

The lower order powered on, taking the Portsmouth side to 268 for 7 with Max Goddard and Ben Saunders unbeaten on 18 and 19 respectively at tea.

The brittle Fair Oak batting suffered from an attack of the blues on their own outing at the infirmary, quickly slipping to 59 for 5 with only Ayinen Ramanan (13) hanging around for long. 

There was resistance from Tom Clark (23), Matt White (24), Lewis Goodyear (15) and James Gradwell (24), but opening bowler Jake Peach returned to finish with 3 for 31 from his 10 overs.  Saunders chipped in with 2 for 29 as Fair Oak succumbed for just 136. 

The hosts claimed maximum points (23) while Oaks banked a meagre 4 of their own, and currently stand second from bottom of the ten-team table.

Fair Oak’s 2nd XI lost at home to a strong Lymington 2nd XI side in Hampshire League Division 2.  Lymington got off to a fast start through openers Ron Patel (49) and Torquil Deacon (32).  They were pegged back by medium-pacer Phil Smith, who took 3 for 27 in 9 overs, but consistent contributions by the visiting lower order, led by Liam McCurdy (38), took them to 220 all out.  James Featherstone, Jake Salmon and Andy Mash each bagged a brace of wickets.

The Lymington four-man pace attack proved too hot for the Fair Oak batsmen – with the exception of the in-form James Todd, who made 81 before being ninth out.  Seven bowlers shared the wickets around, Thor Howell and Alvin Cameron each taking two, but Oaks held out at 181 for 9 to bag maximum bonus points.  Featherstone made 27 and Albert Voaden 21 not out in his first County 2 innings, albeit in an already lost cause.

Fair Oak III also gave a good performance in defeat, against Fareham & Crofton II in County Division 4 South.  Oaks made 192 for 9, Mitch le Tissier top scoring with 39 with Nathan Lys adding 22 and Seb Chambers 32 late on.  Four Fareham bowlers took two wickets apiece – Gary West, Charlie Stubbs, James Hawley and Blake Barnwell.

Fareham made light work of a tough target thanks largely to opening bat Jon Tucker.  He tucked into the Fair Oak attack to the tune of 136 not out off 98 balls, the hosts taking only 26 overs to reach an eight-wicket win at 192 for 2.  Roy Townson made 28 not out for Fareham.

Fair Oak’s 4th XI had a tough time, too.  They conceded 255 for 6 against Locks Heath II in their Hampshire Division 5 South fixture.  Ben Woodman and Luke Skinn took two wickets each, but were eclipsed by the efforts of Heath batters Jon Whitfield (95), Justin Cousins (60) and Matt Short (55).

Oaks replied with 113 all out, 39 of which came from the bat of opener Connor Potter.  Louis Fernandes (4 for 7) and Dave Lemon (4 for 16) did the damage despite double-figure scores for Sam Pullen and Josh Wood.

In Division 6 South East, Fair Oak V were able to raise eleven players for the first time this season, but proved no match for Denmead.  A century from opener Mick Whiteaway was the cornerstone of Denmead’s 254 for 6, while opening bowler Toby Gardner picked up three wickets.

When Fair Oak batted Alex Bucknell scored 28 and Jack Rosenburg 34, but Sid Knight was the dominant force, taking four wickets for 30.  Oaks were bowled out for 115 to leave the visitors triumphant by 139 runs.