LONGPARISH kept themselves on track for promotion back into the Southern League for the first time in over 20 years. with a nine wicket win over visiting St Cross III, writes Chris de Cani.

The victory keeps the side second in the table in a three way promotion battle with Portsmouth and Southsea and Lymington II.

For Saturday's game, the track was decidedly damp and with the second and third team's games lost to the weather a large crowd assembled for this big game.

St Cross III won the toss and opting to bat. The home side bowled tight lines and restricted St Cross to around two runs an over up to drinks.

Steven Berryman ground out 50 from 107 balls, but was bowled by Alex Coetzee.

James Bevan bowled brilliantly once again taking 2-13 from his 10 overs and Ben Gardner was unlucky not to pick up wickets after conceding only 14 runs from his 7 overs as the St Cross III innings closed on 144-9.

With the wicket rapidly drying in the sun batting conditions improved and the Longparish reply rattled along at around a run a ball. William de Cani and Gardner put on 124 for the first wicket before de Cani holed out to the bowling of Tom Fay for 55.

Gardner batted superbly and was unbeaten on 73 as Longparish passed the target in the 25th over.

the side now have two games left in the campaign away to Sarisbury Athletic II on Saturday, before they entertain Rowledge II in the final game of the season.