NEW Zealand international Luke Ronchi was an interested spectator at Bashley on Saturday as they climbed to the top of the Southern Premier League with victory over South Wilts.

Ronchi, who spent three seasons with the New Forest club during the early part of his career, has been turning out for Birmingham Bears as their overseas player in this year's T20 Blast.

He saw Bashley dislodge from top spot the overnight leaders and four-time champions with skipper Michael Porter leading them to a resounding six-wicket win.

Bashley dismissed South Wilts for 156 and knocked off the runs with relative ease as new captain Porter remained undefeated at the close on 70.

“I think it’s fair to say we outplayed them in all departments,” said 21-year old Porter, who helped Bashley claim a fourth straight time pennant win.

Bashley got an unexpected first use of the new ball – James Hayward soon rueing his decision to bat as South Wilts slumped to 38 for four – with experienced duo Kevin Nash (2-38) and left-armer Andy Neal (2-24) exploiting the damp, bowler-friendly conditions.

Nash, fresh from his six-wicket haul against Ventnor the previous week, bowled South Australia prospect Jake Winter (13) and trapped Jack Mynott (4) in quick succession.

Eddie Abel (15) rode his luck, being dropped off the first ball of the game and then giving Bashley several more chances before Josh Digby gobbled up a good catch.

When Neal trapped Joe Cranch in front with his next ball, South Wilts really were in trouble and limped into lunch facing their first defeat of the season against an upbeat Bashley side scenting a prize scalp.

Teenager William Wade (21) and Hayward (20) ground out another 22 runs before the captained played across a straight delivery from Sam Thomson, who was bursting with confidence after his 11-wicket haul from Dorset’s Minor Counties Championship win over Cheshire.

It was left to James Hibberd (49) to steady the South Wilts ship after that.

The all-rounder added 40, initially with Wade, then another 40 with Rob Franklin (22) to lift flagging South Wilts’ spirits and the total to 140-6.

But, unlike in recent games with Havant and Burridge, there was no escape route for South Wilts as Simon Watkins (3-23) dismissed all three batsmen before Digby (2-16) concluded the innings at 156.

South Wilts did get early wickets – Hibberd (2-20) accounting for Tom Gates (5) and then bowling Dorset’s Tom Jacques (4).

Simon Ridley (16) steadied things, but it was the partnership between Porter and Gavin Bailiff which ended any threat of South Wilts’ pulling off another Houdini win.

Porter, who is relishing the extra responsibility captaincy duties bring, looks a far more compact and confident player and the crease and hit nine fours in a 115-ball unbroken stay at the crease which won the game for Bashley.

The West Australia-based Bailiff, back with the club where he cut his teeth as a teenager, was always looking to play aggressive shots and, with more than a glancing eye at the threatening rain bearing clouds skirting the ground, struck a positive 49.

Bashley did suffer the inconvenience of one rain stop, but the sun broke through as Porter hit his ninth four through extra-cover to clinch a thoroughly deserved victory.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying my captaincy role. The previous best season I had in the SPL was when I skippered Hampshire under-17s and that was my fourth 50-plus score so I’m pretty pleased with that,” added Porter.