DAN Conway produced a season’s best 5-55 before Bournemouth found their path towards a crucial ECB Southern Premier Division victory over the Hampshire Academy, blocked by Dorset prospect Joe Eckland.

The Millfield teenager hit a maiden 105 not out as the Academy forced a draw at 214-7 in response to Bournemouth’s 253-7, writes Mike Vimpany.

But the ‘winning draw’ earned Bournemouth 14 points and cut the deficit between themselves and second from bottom Burridge to eight points – Burridge having crashed to a 75-run defeat at Havant, their fourth loss in a row.

Bournemouth lost Tasmanian left-hander Tom Willoughby cheaply, but Luke Webb’s elevation to opener paid dividends with the Dorset skipper and Tom Robinson (30) taking the score to 82-1.

When Webb (68) departed at 128-4 – a second quick scalp for Bashley (Rydal) raised Ethan Baker (3-70) – Bournemouth’s innings reached a potential crossroads.

But Lewis Freak (38) added 55 with Robbie Pack, who emerged from a lean spell to crack three sixes and six fours in a season’s best 74 and guide Bournemouth to 253-7.

Conway effectively ended any prospect of an Academy victory with a three-wicket new-ball spell which saw Tom Cheater, Charlie Mumford and Jude Wright back in the Chapel Gate pavilion with Hampshire rocking at 24-3.

Those early losses provided the promising Eckland to build an innings of note and that he did with two sixes and nine fours in a maiden 105 not out.

Hampshire player development manager Charlie Freeston said of Eckland's century: "An outstanding effort in difficult circumstances. He’s showed real character all season and deserves this score.”

Eckland found an ideal partner in Wilf Fontaine-Jackson (58), the teenage pair adding 115 before Conway and Robbie Pack (2-32) created further inroads, four wickets falling for 19 runs and the Academy score to 158-7.

It left Bournemouth seven overs to take the last three Academy wickets, but Eckland – supported by Louis Prichard (11no) – took the opportunity to progress towards his maiden hundred, a milestone he reached in Conway’s 56th and final over.