FERNDOWN Wayfarers, who won the Hampshire Cricket League championship at the first attempt this past summer, have failed to win a place in the Southern Premier League next year.

Promoted as Division 2 runners-up behind East Woodhay in 2022, they won 12 of their 14 completed fixtures and finished top, comfortably ahead of runners-up Hursley Park in the title chase.

But, whilst their ground boasts a double-lane practice nets and double sight screens, neither the overall pitch marks for Dolmans Farm nor the existing changing and shower facilities in the pavilion have met the required SPL accreditation criteria to enable the Dorset club to go up.

Leading run scorer Alex Sansom, whose 635 runs haul included centuries against East Woodhay, Purbrook and Easton & Martyr Worthy, and 27-wicket James Raftery are among the Ferndown players disappointed they will not be playing at a higher level in 2024.

Hursley Park have been promoted after a seven-year exile in the HCL, but with their ECB ClubMark having lapsed some while ago, third placed Odiham & Greywell were not eligible to go up either.  

It means a reprieve for Trojans, who finished second from bottom in Division 3 this year.