Midhurst’s chances of promotion took a serious knock as they crumbled in a top-of-the-table Hampshire League division-one clash at Gosport Borough and slipped from second to fifth.
Heavy rain overnight and overcast conditions meant winning the toss would be crucial and the coin landed in favour of the home side and Midhurst were put in.
The visitors were immediately in trouble with E Atkins the first to fall.
The floodgates opened as Cussins, Braithwaite, T Atkins and Powell soon followed and Midhurst were 30 for five.
It looked as though the match would be all over by tea. But the visitors were saved almost single-handedly by Jamie Hall, who batted almost the entire 50 overs, producing a dogged and mature innings of 79.
Thanks to support from Leon Fourie, Hall steered Midhurst to a final score of 153.
The visitors knew they were a long way short, but felt with tight bowling, sharp fielding and some luck, a win was not impossible.
However, this thought disappeared as Gosport took the attack to the visitors from the outset and were 65 for no wicket after ten overs.
This was despite excellent bowling from skipper Powell in particular, which on another day could have yielded early wickets.
Powell took the pace off the ball with the introduction of Hall and Premachandra, which proved a good decision, the latter taking three quick wickets.
By this point the result was not in doubt but as Gosport closed in on victory, Ryan Lewis took a fourth wicket to secure an extra bowling point for the visitors.
This was little more than consolation for Midhurst on what was, with the exception of Hall’s batting and Premachandra’s bowling, a massively disappointing afternoon.
This week, Midhurst host Idlers knowing every game is now a must-win if they are to have even an outside chance of promotion.
Midhurst seconds’ climb up the county division four north table continued with a comfortable eight-wicket victory over South Newton.
They now sit fourth with four matches remaining.
Richard Gough asked Newton to bat and Midhurst restricted them to a sub-par 189 for nine and knocked the runs off for the loss of two wickets.
Henry Rydon and Dave Green reduced the Newton scoring rate, Rydon removing both openers and Green chipping in with a wicket.
Ken Jones continued the success of the slower bowlers, taking four for 39.
Midhurst’s reply saw Steve May and Simon Lush put on useful runs before Gough and Lush’s aggression with sensible defence saw Midhurst home. Lush remained unbeaten on 88 and Gough’s rapid-fire 43 not out got them over the line.