Dons top the crop

Hambledon are the early Southern Electric Premier League division two pacesetters.

Dan Hewitt's side crushed New Milton by nine wickets on Saturday to bag maximum points and hit the summit.

After the new first-team skipper won the toss and elected to field, the Dons skittled their New Forest hosts for just 64.

Rory Prentice, 15, produced a mature display on his first-team debut - returning figures of two for 13 in his nine overs.

James Atkinson was the pick of the bowlers, though. The off-spinner finished with five for 15, while there were also wickets for Hewitt, James Scutt and Will Mann.

Indy Chakrabarti made the most of his return from South Africa, too, as he set the standard in the field with four superb catches at short extra cover.

After the break the Dons gave their hosts a lesson in batting on wet wickets as they chased down the total for the loss of just one wicket.

Scutt, who handed over the reins to Hewitt at the end of last season, led the way with an unbeaten 33.

He shared an important stand of 41 for the first wicket with new opening partner Toby de Mellow (13) before Rob Atkins (7 not out) joined Scutt to help finish the job.

Hambledon bagged 22 points for the triumph, with New Milton drawing a blank. In the only other fixture to beat the rain, Hook & Newnham Basics (20pts) defended 182 to beat Andover (7pts) by 24 runs.

Elsewhere, the Dons' second string were narrowly defeated by Portsmouth & Southsea II in Hampshire League division four south.

Mark Le Clercq struck 44 as the Rhidian Chapman's side posted 135 for nine in their 45 overs at Ridge Meadow.

Unfortunately for the hosts, who took five points from the clash, it was not enough as their visitors overhauled the target in the final over.