BASHLEY (Rydal) clung on to beat Portsmouth by five runs in an ECB Royal London national club championship first round tie that reached an improbable nail-biting climax in the New Forest gloom.

Defending 179-5, Bashley looked home and dry after a three-wicket spell by Bournemouth University all-rounder Tim Taylor (3-35) left Portsmouth struggling at 62-6 (Ben Duggan 24).

But Asad Abbas, who has just joined Portsmouth from Fair Oak, hit a run-a-ball 40 to put the visitors back in the reckoning.

With Portsmouth Grammar School captain Jo Kooner-Evans (16) in support, the pair turned the tide, leaving Abbas’s teenage son Monam licence to hit out in the closing overs.

The spin all-rounder followed in his father’s footsteps, hitting two big sixes and with Reuben McArdle (19 not out) eased Portsmouth to within 20 runs of victory off Patrick Holly’s final over.

It was game-on after he hit the spinner for 12 runs, including a big six, off the first three deliveries, but Holly (2-41) remained calm, with a dot ball, a two to long-leg before having Abbas stumped off the final delivery.

Portsmouth were left five runs short at 174-9.

Earlier, university media student Taylor underlined his potential with a classy 49 for Bashley.

Fellow newcomers Daniel Andrew (24) and teenager Greg Havard (30) helped Bashley to 133-2 (Mitch Wilson 21) before Holly hit an important 23 not out to take the hosts to a competitive total.

The first-round ties involving Totton & Eling (v Basingstoke & North Hants) and Ventnor (v Waterlooville) were postponed due to unfit grounds.

Totton will now host Basingstoke at Southern Gardens on Sunday (1pm), with Waterlooville playing Ventnor at Steephill on Monday.

l Southampton Solent University had their second BUCS Championship match against Leeds & Bradford MCCU washed out midway through the first innings. Solent had made 134-4 after 30 overs when the match was called off, Lymington’s Ryan Scott unbeaten on 39 after skipper Matt Stokes (37) and Richard Locke (30) had been dismissed.