SKIPPER Chris Park admitted Bournemouth were as good as out of the Southern Premier League Division One title race following a disappointing 21-run defeat at the hands of Basingstoke & North Hants.

Lions knew nothing other than victory over their fellow high-fliers at Chapel Gate would suffice if they were to maintain their aspirations of a return to the top tier.

They hosted Basingstoke on the back of their three previous fixtures all being washed out.

On a green looking pitch, Park won the toss and asked Basingstoke to bat with the visitors posting a challenging 196 for nine from their 50 overs.

Leg spinner Jem Warner was Bournemouth’s stand-out bowler as he took three for 26 from his allotted overs, while Jake Hurley and Simon Woodruff both claimed two wickets apiece.

Having reduced Basingstoke to 64 for three, Mitch Stokes (49) and Will Phillips (40) steadied the innings and gave their bowlers a competitive total to defend, although Park was critical of his team's display in the field.

He told the Daily Echo: “It was a really bowler-friendly wicket but you could tell we hadn’t been out in the middle for three weeks.

"We bowled badly and our fielding wasn’t up to scratch either. We probably gave them an extra 20-30 runs and, ultimately, that’s what cost us the game.”

In reply, Bournemouth lost wickets at regular junctures during their innings with only Martin Miller (30) and Jake Hurley (33) showing any kind of resistance against a Basingstoke attack which took greater advantage of the conditions.

The hosts’ cause was not helped by two run-outs and they limped to 176 for nine from their 50 overs, coming up 21 runs short.

“We did pretty well to get to the score we did,” added Park. “We were well beaten by the better side and never got a partnership going like they did.

"Our scoring rate was slow too as, after 25 overs, we only had something like 60 on the board and, at 35, only 90 so we were always chasing the game.

“Five-an-over on such a big ground like ours was too tall an order and once we got behind the eight ball there was only going to be one winner.

“We have three games left and they are all cup finals really. We’ve got to be at our absolute best and hope Basingstoke fail.

"We might be helped if they are deducted bonus points for a slow over-rate, but I don’t think it will make an awful lot of difference.

“On paper, we do have three easier games, while their captain (George Metzger) says that they have a tougher run-in.

"Realistically though, regardless of who either side plays, our title aspirations are probably over for the season.

"Granted, the weather hasn’t helped, but we didn’t help ourselves by playing poorly against Basingstoke when we won such a good toss, but couldn’t make the most of favourable bowling conditions.”