Hampshire Academy suffered a close five-wicket defeat as they faced a strong Sarisbury Athletic side in the Southern Electric Premier League at the Ageas Bowl (Nursery).
A well-made half-century from Jake Goodwin (65) wasn’t enough to hand victory to the Academy side as a lack of support left the visitors well short in the first innings.
Despite Tom Barber (2-44) restricting the away side early-on, a battling fifty from Joe Lovett (65) took the match out of reach to help his side claim an important away victory.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Hampshire Academy lost both openers cheaply as Joe Weatherly (9) and Ben Duggan (18) departed early with Dan Goldstraw (5-21) playing a part in both wickets.
Tom Alsop (29) looked in good touch as he helped the home-side reach 63 before he too was dismissed by Goldstraw.
The seamer struck again as an impressive spell helped to remove Andy Gorvin (5), Brad Taylor (0) and Josh McCoy (2) in quick succession, reducing the Academy to 94-6.
Goodwin continued to battle as some fine strokes saw him look comfortable at the crease but others continued to tumble around him, this time Ryan Burl (2-34) and Kieran Geyle (2-39) sharing the spoils.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, building a big total in the allotted overs proved difficult for the hosts and Geyle eventually removed Goodwin to restrict the Academy to 180 all out from 49.3 overs.
In reply, Barber bowled with excellent pace in his opening spell as he removed both opening batsman to offer some hope of a potentially close contest.
A vital partnership between Lovett and Burl (30) steered Sarisbury to a slight recovery before Mason Crane (1-38) trapped the latter LBW with the score at 85-3.
Some confident shots from Lovett saw the required target continue to fall, but as Brad Taylor dismissed Matthew Journeaux (6) cheaply and some inspired fielding from Luke Evans saw Lovett depart too, the visitors looked to be struggling at 135-5 and still 45 runs behind.
However a hard-fought win was not to be, as Geyle (37*) and Mark Miller (18*) saw Sarisbury reach the required target with five wickets remaining and just under five overs to spare.
Hampshire Academy will look to bounce back this Saturday as they face Bashley CC in their next fixture this weekend.
Words: Will Brewster