Hampshire Academy topple BAT's four year record
Hampshire's young Academy side will have a pennant to proudly display in the Rose Bowl trophy cabinet after shattering BAT Sports four-year old unbeaten record in all-day `time' cricket.
Their comprehensive 56-run win at Southern Gardens means the Young Hawks finished with the best overall record in the nine weeks of all-day cricket and will be presented with a pennant to show for their success.
At this stage, the result looks unlikely to affect BAT's pursuit of Havant's championship crown.
The two clubs have still to meet on August 16 in one of the four remaining 50-over contests but BAT still effectively enjoy a 37-point lead at the top.
BAT skipper Richard Dibden hopes the Academy defeat will act as a "wake up" call to his players that the championship race isn't done and dusted, despite the still healthy lead.
They were certainly well beaten by the county hopefuls, who daringly declared at 245-8 after 61 overs and then gradually worked their way through the BAT batting to nail the would-be champions for 189.
"It was an exceptional performance," glowed Academy Director Tony Middleton, who put only one contracted professional (Charlie van der Gucht) into the field.
The victory over BAT came just a fortnight after the Young Hawks had beaten defending champions Havant in their own back yard.
"This win was even better. BAT are a better side (than Havant) and the lads bowled them out on a much better pitch," Middleton enthused.
The Academy's success was built around teenage wicketkeeper Tom Burrows, who featured in two significant partnerships after Chris Thomason (2-27) had removed openers Ed Bruce and Alex Richardson.
He survived two early chances and, with wine award winner Kevin Latouf alongside, steered the Academy to a comfortable 127-2 at lunch.
The pair added 95 and appeared to be heading towards half-centuries when, soon after the resumption, Latouf was slow backing up and was run out by Dan Goldstraw for an excellent 48, which contained nine fours.
Burrows, the Reading youngster who caught the eye of the Rose Bowl crowd as substitute wicketkeeper against Yorkshire last season, favoured on-side shots but provided the perfect foil for Ian Hilsum (41) to really push the score along.
The Islander really went for his shots, hitting eight boundaries in a crisp 41 before he too perished against an erratic BAT fielding display and was run out by Neal Parlane's deep throw.
Three wickets fell for nine runs, including that of Burrows for fine 77 (ten fours), as the Academy slipped to 206-6.
But some timely strikes by Dave Griffiths (21) and Luke Merry (18) enabled Hilsum to raise a few eyebrows with a 62nd over declaration, which left BAT 59 overs to get 246 runs for victory.
When the prolific Parlane thudded Griffiths over extra-cover for a six which was still rising when it hit the pavilion roof, it appeared as though Hilsum might have miscalculated.
But two strikes by Matt Metcalfe (2-29) quickly accounted for Richard Kenway and Dave Banks, and left the rampant Kiwi with added pressure.
Not that it appeared to concern the New Zealander, who continued to strike boundaries at will - quite impressively through the on-side - and who appeared to have found a reliable partner in Graham Noble.
The pair took BAT's reply to a threatening 94-2 at tea and set up a potentially absorbing evening session.
Noble soon fell leg before to James Manning after the break , but it was at 121-3 that the match took a decisive twist.
Van der Gucht replaced Manning at the tennis court end and promptly served up a juicy full-toss on to the middle of Parlane's bat.
But instead of celebrating his third six of the innings, the Kiwi picked out Manning on the deep mid-wicket boundary and departed for a thoroughly entertaining 69.
It took his season's aggregate to 767, some 248 runs behind Robin Smith's all-time Southern League record (1,015 runs in 1982) with four matches remaining.
James Schofield (32) and Chris Thomason (27) both got going, but BAT were suffering from a distinct lack of application in the middle-order ranks.
Mitchell Stokes produced a useful spell of 1-33 off 14 overs when it mattered as BAT's rear-end faltered.
Griffiths (3-35) returned to bowl Schofield and then removed Terry Rawlins and Goldstraw in quick succession to leave BAT 189 all out.
Dibden, left high and dry on 13 not out, criticised his players for "failing to bat time" but had no complaints at losing to an Academy side which has certainly come of age in the past two months.