VENTNOR have out themselves in contention for promotion at a vital stage of the season after they defeated bottom side in Division 1 of the Southern Premier League at Steephill on Saturday.

The Islanders won their third game on the bounce to move up to fourth and in touch with the leading pack.

The visitors went into bat and battled hard to post 225-9, with Dineth Thimodya (5-47) and Namis Verma (4-33) proving to be a potent bowling partnership.

Ventnor struggled to get going, but experienced Martin Blackman continued his good recent form by scoring a solid 83 not out, with Chris Russell weighing in with a breezy 34 not out at the end to steer them home to a three-wicket victory.  

Isle of Wight County Press: Martin Blackman top scored for Ventnor against Liphook.Martin Blackman top scored for Ventnor against Liphook.

Isle of Wight County Press: Martin Blackman sweeps.Martin Blackman sweeps.

Ryde moved up to fifth bottom — their highest position all season — after they too won their third straight game, up against Easton and Martyr Worthy in Hampshire League, Division 1.

The Harding Shute hosts put a respectable 245 on the scoreboard, with opener Robert Hobbs (47) top scoring, but the visitors made it a nervy affair — managing to restrict Easton as they came up 12 runs short, thanks in the main to tight bowling by Julion Jayerajah (4-36).

In Hampshire 3 (South), Shanklin and Godshill won their third game in four to ensure they consolidated their position in the division next season, with skipper Benji White leading from the front.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ventnor's Namish Verma gains on an LBW appeal.Ventnor's Namish Verma gains on an LBW appeal.

Isle of Wight County Press: Namish Verma, of Ventnor.Namish Verma, of Ventnor.

After bowling the hosts out for 224, with Mark Lambourne (4-48) and White (3-31), the Islanders responded positively, with White smashing 84 — a knock comprised of four boundaries and four sixes — to win by four wickets.

Ventnor II (261-5) fell to a surprise two-wicket defeat at strugglers Fawley II in Division 4 (South), to slightly dent their promotion ambitions.

Neil Westhorpe (108) hit his second century of the season.

However, Ryde II continued their impressive form with a crushing 167-run victory at Mansbridge.

Ryde posted a solid 241-4, with Daniel Attrill (89) top scoring.

Isle of Wight County Press: Benji White top scored for Shanklin & Godshill in their win.Benji White top scored for Shanklin & Godshill in their win.

They need not have worried if the score was enough after they skittled Mansbridge out for a paltry 74, with Mark Tuckwell (5-27) and Nathan Day (2-10) the pick of the bowlers.

They now have an identical win-loss record as Ventnor II as they enter the promotion hunt.

In Division 1 of the Island League, Newport got off to the perfect start playing at their new home ground, Newclose — beating bitter rivals Northwood by 121 runs.

Newport, who will officially leave their traditional home for decades, Victoria Recreation Ground, in September, began a new era in style — Tom Dye smashing 118 not out and Ryan Young, an unbeaten 71, on a beautiful batting strip.

The win makes them title favourites.

Bottom side Freshwater cruised to victory over Cowes (Jack Summers 63) by eight wickets, with unbeaten knocks by Graham Gosden (78) and Sadu Fernando (75 and 3-25) easing them home.

In a low scoring game, Shanklin and Godshill II managed to beat St Helens by 13 runs after being skittled out for just 140.

In Division 2, Ryde II beat Northwood II (116-6) by six wickets.

                                                  SATURDAY'S FIXTURES
Southern Premier League, Division 1: Basingstoke & North Hants v Ventnor; Hampshire League, Division 1: Hythe & Dibden v Ryde; Hampshire 3 (South): Shanklin & Godshill v Gosport Borough II; Hampshire 4 (South): Ryde II v Fawley II; Ventnor II v Purbrook II; Isle of Wight Senior Cup, Division A: Freshwater v Carisbrooke High School Old Boys; Division B: Cowes v Arreton; Newport v St Helens.