cricketstumpVentnor won a fluctuating contest at The Linden Oval on Saturday to increase bottom placed Totton & Eling’s relegation woes in the penultimate round of ECB Southern Electric Premier Division matches.

In a close run finish, the battling Islanders edged home by two wickets with James Cheek playing a decisive role. Coming in at number eight with 68 runs still required, the 20 year old struck a crucial, unbeaten 39 from 48 deliveries and with Toby Corbin and Adam Wilson supporting at the other end, got his side home with a six over mid- wicket with just seven balls and two wickets to spare..

The win maintained Ventnor’s position in third place ahead of the visit of Burridge to Newclose on Saturday with the Fareham based side needing the points to ensure safety.

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Mark Holmes’s side had to dig deep to clinch the victory. Chasing a total of 190, Jake George made 30 at the top of the order but with Australia under 19 international Cameron Valente and former Hampshire and Sussex pace bowler Billy Taylor forming a potent attack, prospects of a win looked unpromising at 69-4. Ian Hilsum with 20 and Neil Westhorpe (28) added 53 for the fifth wicket but when they departed to Dylan Augustus, it was Cheek who led a fine recovery from 132-7 and to a fifth win of the season.

The Totton and Eling innings had taken a similar path earlier in the day. The pace of Wilson accounted for openers Arnold and Haggarty, courtesy of catches by Ollie Mills, and when Holmes dismissed dangerman Valente and skipper Metcalfe  the top order were back in the hatch with only 25 runs on the board. Mills’s medium pace claimed two further wickets and at 63-6 the home team were staring down the barrel. The innings was subsequently rescued by Darren Augustus (69 not out) and Billy Taylor (42), the pair adding 88 in an important partnership for the seventh wicket to ensure the hosts had a total to defend.

The match featured Southern League debuts for two promising young Ventnor players. Fifteen year old Ross Whyte made 11 batting at number five while all-rounder Jadon Buckeridge (16), impressed with a ten over spell of off-spin which yielded just 23 runs.

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