AN EMPHATIC eight-wicket win for Ventnor over Paultons on Saturday, coupled with surprise defeats for fellow promotion challengers Liphook & Ripsley and Hartley Wintney, saw the Steephill side take over top spot in Division 2 of the IPA Greene King Southern Premier League for the first time this season.

With just two games remaining, including a potentially decisive visit to Liphook on Saturday, Ventnor will be hoping to extend their fine winning run to seven successive games and edge nearer a return to Division One.

On Saturday, Paultons batted first, reaching 33 without loss before Chris Russell castled opener Grierson.

The Wells brothers, Zach and Zeph, took 3-36 and 2-40 respectively to restrict the Division’s bottom club to 176-8 from their 40 overs ­— Pike scoring 59.

The Ventnor response was led by Ben Woodhouse and Anthony Alleyne.

Skipper Woodhouse (80 not out) made a welcome return to form, with left hander Alleyne contributing yet another fluent half century.

The duo’s partnership of 141 for third wicket saw their side to victory with twelve overs remaining.

With just two rounds of matches of the Hampshire league season to go, Ryde remain in the third place promotion spot of Division 2 following a comfortable six-wicket win against mid-table Old Tauntonians & Romsey at Harding Shute.

Electing to bat first, the visitors started well, and at 92-1 looked set to post a decent score.

But the Ryde bowlers started to click as a unit, and within an hour, the remaining nine wickets fell for just 31 runs with Ben Gregory (5-13) and Ash Goldsmith (4-28) doing the damage.

Ryde knocked off the runs in just 27 overs with Ollie Morgan (33 not out) top scoring.

Shanklin & Godshill I, meanwhile, fell to Shrewton by 47 runs.

Matt Lambourne (4-48) and Andrew White (3-29) did well to restrict the visitors.

Ryde II fell 25 runs short in their Division 4 run chase away to Fareham & Crofton.

Having bowled Fareham out for 191 ­— Nathan Day 6-46 and Jerin Jose 3-25 performing well ­— Ryde were always slightly behind the run rate.

Ellis Ridett top scored with 51, with Mark Oatley supporting with 35.

In Division 2 of the Island League, Ventnor II defeated Ryde III by 40 runs.

Jack Powell hit 71 in Ventnor’s total of 166-9. Rollo Little (3-34) restricted Ventnor’s innings, and Ryde III replied with 126 ­— George Griffith making 49.

Neal Jackson (3-17) and Ben Martin (2-9) were the pick of the Ventnor bowlers.

On Sunday, Arreton went through to the Fred Winter Cup final with a 31-run win over Ventnor II.

Kevin Cooper thumped 66 in the home team’s score of 158, while team mate Rob Wilcox took 5-26 to help dismiss the visitors for 127.

Mark Price (35) was the main Ventnor contributor.