AMBITIOUS Sam Thomson has set his sights on finishing his debut season in the Southern Premier League as the top wicket-taker.

Thomson, who joined Bashley from Parley over the winter, took his tally to 23 when he claimed best-yet SPL figures of six for 77 in their draw against Premier Division rivals Havant.

But although the Dorset off-spinner shot to the top of the charts, he cut a frustrated figure as Bashley fluffed an opportunity to beat high-flying Havant on their own patch.

Firmly in the driving seat at 135 for one chasing Havant’s 220, the visitors lost five wickets for 15 in mid-innings, finishing the clash hanging on at 192 for nine.

Nick Baker (63) and James Morris (45) had provided the launch-pad with a second-wicket stand of 85, only for the collapse to leave Bash with more work to do if they are to impact on the title race.

Thomson told the Daily Echo: “I got some assistance from the pitch, principally with the new hard ball, but varied my pace pretty well and had all six victims caught as they tried to hit me over the top so I was pretty pleased with that.

“Moving to Bashley has improved my individual game no end. It is sad to say but standards in Dorset League cricket are falling. In the Southern Premier League, I am bowling at far better batsmen on better surfaces and it has improved my game.

“I’ve got 23 wickets and my target is 35. My dream is to win the bowling award in my debut season.”

It was Thomson’s spell which saw Havant drop from a threatening 121 for two to 220 – with eight wickets falling for 99 – the hosts also losing direction having been 175 for four with the last six wickets going down for 45.

Bashley skipper Richard Morris said: “Sam bowled exceptionally well and has done all season. He is an infectious character who has fitted into the club extremely well. I am sure we will see more wickets from him.”

Morris, who had single-handedly tried to retrieve the situation with a defiant 39 as wickets tumbled around him, added: “We had a good second-wicket partnership between Nick Baker and James Morris but weren’t able to get anything going after that.

“We were going for the win and left it as late as we could but, ultimately, once Dan Friedman and myself got out, that was it. But it was disappointing bearing in mind the position we had got ourselves in, only to surrender our advantage.”

Teenagers Dom Hand, Damien Mortimer, Ryan Scott and Felix Ambrose all made vital contributions as Lymington eased their relegation fears with a five-wicket win over fellow strugglers Totton & Eling.

Hand (3-37) claimed the prized scalps of ex-Hampshire batsman James Haggaty, Australian under-19 star Cameron Valente and free-scoring George Marshall as Lymington restricted their opponents to 212 for seven.

The 18-year-old all-rounder, somewhat unceremoniously dropped by Dorset after just one appearance this season, accounted for Haggaty (40) and Valente in quick succession either side of lunch as the visitors slipped from 99 for two to 103 for four.

And although Jimmy Taylor (75) rode his luck to underpin the Totton innings, the Lymington attack – with marathon man Matt Metcalfe (3-98) bowling 32 overs unchanged in the stifling heat – combined to ensure only a modest total would be posted.

Mortimer, who played for Australia in the Under-19 World Cup over the winter, shared an opening stand of 72 with Hand (32), the pair holding their nerve in the face of some hostile and often short-pitched bowling with Valente keeping them on their toes.

After Hand had been caught by Haggaty off the bowling of Taylor (3-40), Mortimer (67) put on 60 for the second wicket with Scott (45), the hero of Dorset’s Minor Counties win over Herefordshire hitting four fours and a six during his 72-ball stay.

Although Damien Edwards and Darren Cowley went cheaply, 17-year-old Canfordian Ambrose (33) remained undefeated at the close as Lymington recorded only their second win of the season and their first since mid-May to climb off the foot of the table.