MICHAEL Porter hit an unbeaten 60 as Bashley bowled South Wilts off the top of the ECB British Gas Southern Premier League with a five-wicket victory – and rekindled their own title hopes in the process.

A month ago, after two batting calamities against Burridge and Havant, Bashley looked to be out of the frame.

But, with none of their remaining four 50-over games against potential championship rivals, Bashley can be optimistic about their prospects having cut the deficit between themselves and table-toppers Lymington to 15 points.

Porter’s key fourth-wicket partnership with Josh Digby (29) calmed Bashley nerves after the visitors had slipped to 65 for three in response to South Wilts’ 169 all out.

They had lost South Australian Patrick Page (26) six runs earlier and South Wilts sniffed a chance if they could breakthrough again.

But Porter, with only one previous 50-plus score in the competition this summer, steadied the ship, eking out precious runs which set Bashley on their way before Digby was caught at slip at 139 for four off Luke Evans (4-28).

Porter went on to hit 10 boundaries in his match-winning 60 not out.

Earlier, South Wilts had made a steady start through Will Wade (29) and Owain Phillips (24), but were generally kept in check by some steady Bashley bowling.

Jack Mynott (39) top scored, but from 112 for three the innings gradually subsided – Digby taking three for 24 – and it needed a handy knock from James Hibberd (20 not out) at the tail end to give the South Wilts’ bowlers a modest total to defend.