ERIC Linge was like the cat that got the cream after he and New Milton club-mate Dave Wheeler had shredded the Southern Premier League record books.

Linge and Wheeler shared a 247-run third-wicket stand – the highest in the 11-year history of the competition – as Milton annihilated Division Two strugglers Bournemouth.

Wheeler joined Linge at the crease with the score on 31 for two, the big-hitting pair helping Milton pile up a formidable 340 for six from their 50 overs at Chapel Gate.

And while Wheeler (141) may have outscored his partner, Linge (101) could not wait to break the news to his boss Steve Fowler and Patch, his treasured cat.

Linge told the Daily Echo: “I have just started a new job working for PamPurredPets in Verwood and Steve is a huge sports fan. He said he would give me some cat food if I started scoring more runs!”

All-rounder Linge (2-20) also chipped in as Milton routed Bournemouth for just 56 with skipper Lee Beck (6-26) claiming career-best figures (Dan Loader 2-9).

“Their partnership was sensational,” said Beck, who has overseen four wins out of five since replacing Linge as skipper in June.

“They hit the ball to all parts of the ground and it was great to watch. They were spurring on each other and having personal challenges. Eric showed just what a great talent he is.

“Dave hasn’t been able to play every week because he is a photographer and does a lot of weddings. I wish there had been a photographer at Chapel Gate to get some photos of those two in action!”

Linge hit nine fours and one six, while Wheeler clubbed 17 fours and one six as the Bournemouth attack wilted with the pair eventually holing out off the bowling of Rob Coombs (3-66).

In reply, no Bournemouth batsman managed double figures, leaving skipper Alex Kennedy to indulge in a spot of gallows humour at a club night following the thrashing.

“I won a free net session in the raffle,” said Kennedy. “I told the lads we could all do with a bit of practice so offered to share it with them!”

Defeat left Bournemouth languishing second from bottom in Division Two and capped a dark day for the |Lions with the club’s hopes of retaining the Division One crown also taking a dent.

Chasing South Wilts’ 316 for two, Bournemouth were forced to settle for a draw after they could only reply with 243 for five in their final time pennant clash.

Although Nick Park (63) and Michael Porter (64) put on 144 for the first wicket, Bournemouth were unable to build on the partnership and dropped anchor after the pair had departed.

Earlier, Eddie Abel (127), Tom Morton (80) and James Hibberd (70) ensured Bournemouth would endure a rare off day with the ball.

• Jake Lilley and Jamie Miller helped Bashley end a miserable run of defeats, the pair claiming four wickets each in their victory over Division One whipping boys Andover.

Lilley and Miller combined to restrict Andover to 172, with seamer Lilley (4-61) accounting for Andover dangerman Will Prozesky and Miller (4-29) including the scalp of free-scoring Jonty Hadfield among his haul.

Bashley made light work of the chase, with Miller (40) top scoring as they coasted home with six wickets in hand.

• Bashley’s victory would have been well received by neighbours Lymington following their crushing 176-run defeat by Havant.

Second-from-bottom Lymington were skittled for a paltry 57 after they had restricted Havant to 233 for eight.

Lymington, who had Havant on the rack at 121 for seven, were left to rue an eight-wicket partnership of 79 between Stuart Ransley (82) and Steve Matthews (46).

While Damian Shirazi (3-69), Ed Freeman (2-27) and Matt Mixer (2-67) all chipped in with the ball, only Darren Cowley (31) offered any resistance as Lymington were demolished by Jez Ord (6-21), Chris Morgan (2-5) and Ben Walker (2-24).