By Mike Vimpany

SO much for the return of red ball cricket in the ECB Southern Premier League and the supposed longer, all-day format of the recreational game

After four rounds of white ball 50-over matches, Epsom Derby Day saw cricketers swap their coloured pyjama kit for the traditional whites.

But any notion of spectators being able to enjoy the warm sunshine and watch five matches span 120 overs and with a draw an option, was blown clean out of the window.

Not one of the Premier Division lasted beyond 90 overs and in four cases at Basingstoke, Lymington, New Milton and St Cross Symondians, the games were done and dusted long before tea.

Only the Hampshire Academy’s successful 132-run chase against Bashley (Rydal) was still going after the tea break and didn’t finish until six o’clock.

The bizarre sequence of events, with all five toss-winning sides inserting the opposition and subsequently being victorious, saw –

* South Wilts skittle Lymington for 91 in 39.1 overs and win by nine wickets (match length 53 overs).

* Alton roll New Milton out inside 47 overs and romp home nine-wicket winners in 13.1 overs (59 overs).

* Havant routed for 88 in 44.3 overs and thumped by eight wickets by hosts St Cross Symondians in 16.2 overs (60 overs).

 *Overnight leaders Burridge bowed out by Basingstoke & North Hants for 112 in 40.3 overs and beaten inside 30 overs (69 overs).

 * The Academy edge home by two wickets after dismissing Bashley (Rydal) for 132 in 40 overs and taking until the 50th over to knock off the runs. It produced the longest match, by some distance, finishing one ball inside 90 overs.

Seamers relished the 11 o’clock morning starts, with the surfaces made bowler-friendly by midweek rain.

Virtually all the batting sides saw their top five back in the pavilion before the first drinks session.

Tail-enders were batting in all five matches when the ham salads were served two hours or so later.

Only St Cross Symondians’ captain Tom Foyle, who smacked 74 off 55 balls (56 in boundaries) against managed a fifty.

The early finishes are certain to spark renewed player discussion on whether all-day cricket is really necessary bearing in mind the time and cost involved.

It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next two months before white ball cricket resumes in early August …