STRUGGLING Bournemouth could earn a top-flight stay of execution – but may need a helping hand from neighbours New Milton .

Bournemouth’s plight at the foot of Division One worsened following a 10-run defeat by Bashley at Chapel Gate on Saturday.

It leaves them probably needing to win their final two matches – against champions-elect South Wilts and Alton – to avoid picking up the wooden spoon.

However, if the Lions were to finish at the bottom of the pile, there is a question mark over whether they would still be relegated.

SPL rules state that if neither of the top two in Division Two are suitably accredited then there will be no promotion or relegation between the leagues.

At the start of this season, current Division Two leaders Sarisbury, second-placed Rowledge and third-placed Hook did not meet the grading requirements.

Fourth-placed New Milton, however, do have the facilities to compete in the top flight and are likely to be eligible for promotion should they finish in the top two.

Final decisions on accreditation for next season’s constitution of the SPL will be determined |at a meeting in October, a |league spokesperson told the Daily Echo.

Bournemouth captain Scott Barlow said he was aware of the accreditation issues but added: “We can only affect what is in our hands and need to try to win our final two games.”

Barlow (3-31) was the pick of the Bournemouth bowlers as opposite number Richard Morris (61) underpinned Bashley’s 192 (Tom Ackland 2-22).

And although Nick Park (58) and Alex Butler (39) shared 84 for the first wicket, Bournemouth came up just short at 182 (Kevin Nash 3-35, Sean Terry 3-40).

“We should have won,” said Barlow. “We bowled well and took early wickets.

“We just got a bit bogged down in the middle of our reply and left ourselves too much to do at the end.”

Meanwhile, only Damian Shirazi (45) emerged with any credit as Lymington (100) were on the receiving end of a 158-run defeat at the hands of leaders South Wilts (258-4).

New Milton kept alive their promotion hopes with a 49-run victory over Burridge in a high-scoring affair at Fernhill.

Ryan Beck (95), Toby Edwards (36) and Dan Loader (35) helped New Milton pile up 289 for seven before teenager George Watts (3-42) was instrumental in Burridge being stopped at 240 for nine.

New Milton complete their campaign with trips to Paultons and Andover.