CAPTAIN Martin Miller described Bournemouth’s two-wicket defeat by Division One rivals Liphook & Ripsley as “a story of two tail-ends”.
Weakened Bournemouth had Brad Schmulian and Gurpreet Singh to thank for rescuing them after they had slumped to 54 for five at Ripsley Park.
New Zealander Schmulian (54) was the mainstay of their 182 for eight, while Singh (43) hit six fours and a six to help Lions post a presentable total.
Their score was boosted by important contributions down the order from Luke Matthews, JP Cronje and Tom Wainwright who all chipped in with 14.
Singh (4-32), Dave Kidner (2-21) and Shambeel Choudhry (2-34) then combined to reduce the hosts to 76 for seven as Bournemouth scented victory.
However, they were unable to remove Liphook skipper Harry Munt (70) who clubbed no fewer than six sixes and three fours in his match-defining 101-ball stay.
Munt shared a stand of 45 with Sean Burton (22) for the eighth wicket and an unbroken partnership of 62 with Charles Janczur (21) for the ninth as Liphook edged home in the 44th over.
Miller said: “It was a cracking game and one which will live long in the memory. Unfortunately, we came up on the losing side and, from the position we were in, it was disappointing not to win.
“The toss was fairly critical and we lost it. The pitch was very slow which was probably understandable considering the weather we have had recently.
“They put us under pressure and we didn’t apply ourselves particularly well in the conditions. We slumped to 54 for five before our lower order really got struck in and got us up to what I thought at the time was going to be a very challenging total.
“Brad’s innings was very mature and hopefully a sign of things to come when the pitches get harder. It was his first time batting in English conditions and it was a tense environment. He was frustrated with the way he got out but he did brilliantly.
“We then had them 70 for six and David Kidner had beaten the bat countless times, while Gurpreet Singh had been causing them all sorts of trouble on a turning pitch.
“But their captain came in and played a blinder. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off and say that was one hell of an innings. He batted really well and was able to break the pressure we had been applying.
“It was a game of tail-ends – ours rallied and so did theirs. Right up until the death, it could have gone either way. There were some encouraging signs but we were disappointed because we had been in such a strong position.”