BOURNEMOUTH’S unbroken stay in the top flight is hanging by a thread |following a crushing defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Ventnor on Saturday.

Runners-up last season and champions in 2010, the Chapel Gate outfit started the campaign on the back foot after being deducted 20 points for an administrative error.

Despite clawing back the deficit thanks to a mid-season purple patch, a 240-run reverse on the Isle of Wight saw the Lions sink to the foot of the table with just three games remaining.

Chasing Ventnor’s formidable 305 for two, Bournemouth – who were forced to field three debutants due to player unavailability – were routed for just 65.

Skipper Scott Barlow said: “We went there with a weakened team and didn’t apply ourselves. If we win two of our last three games, we will be safe.”

The Lions, a shadow of the team that was crowned t20 national champions three years ago, face third-placed Bashley and leaders South Wilts before visiting Alton on the final day of the season.

Nick Park was one of only three survivors from Bournemouth’s memorable day at Derby to feature against Ventnor and said: “I go into every game believing we can win and, as far as I’m concerned, we’ve got three winnable games left. It’s about time some of the players stood up and took some responsibility.”

A dearth of available players is understood to have forced Bournemouth to scratch their Dorset League Division One clash at Bere Regis on Saturday, while the club has been further rocked by the resignation of Ken House, who helped out with the first team on matchdays.

  • Bashley laid claim to the title of undisputed Kings of the New Forest after completing a comprehensive double over neighbours Lymington .

The SPL t20 Cup winners, victors by six wickets at Lymington in June, recorded another crushing win over their rivals to ensure the bragging rights would remain at the BCG.

Although Lymington made a promising start, they failed to capitalise and their 214 for nine never looked likely to be enough on a belting batting track.

Cameron Grierson (65), Lymington’s most improved performer this season, again upstaged some of the club’s big guns as Kevin Nash (4-40) and Ross Grierson (2-44) helped restrict the visitors.

Bashley made light work of their reply, thanks largely to Hampshire prospect Sean Terry (139) who cracked 19 fours and five sixes in his unbeaten 102-ball stay.

Terry shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 133 with Nick Baker (34) as Bashley coasted to victory with more than 15 overs to spare at 216 for two.

  • New Milton ’s promotion hopes nose-dived following a 102-run defeat at OTs & Romsey – their third reverse on the bounce.

Although Dan Loader (3-54), Nick Gargaro (2-39), Nick Elliott (2-42) and Lee Beck (2-42) were among the wickets, OTs & Romsey piled up 247 from nine from their 50 overs.

Skipper Ryan Beck (43) dug deep at the start of the New Milton reply, but they were never in the hunt and were eventually rolled over for 145.