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Match Reports – 5th May 2018

ALTON 1st XI v BASHLEY (RYDAL) CC 1st XI – 21Six SPL
Errors cost Brewers
Alton looked rusty with the ball as they fall to opening day defeat. With the persistent rain fall throughout April sunshine was the order of the day at the JCG as the Brewers hosted Bashley in the opening game of the newly sponsored 21six SPL.

The Brewers welcomed overseas Marco Marais & young Holybourne off spinner Xavier Bochereau both making their league debuts.

Alton won the toss and elected to bowl first. Things started well for the home side, Mortimer looked dangerous with the new ball. Bashley opener Andrew had no answer as he edged behind for 0. With the ball swinging Alton looked to attack and when Digby was caught at cover by Mark Heffernan for 13 again off Mortimer Bashley were 40 for 2.

Bashley newcomer Taylor stood firm and with Alton failing to take their chances he and skipper Porter built a century partnership to put the visitors in a strong position. Taylor went to 50 before he was bowled by Mark Heffernan but Bashley had moved to 141 for 3.

Skipper Porter then took control alongside Morris (11) & Holly (15) Bashley moved to 215 for 5. Skipper Myers picking up the 2 wickets for the home side. Debutant off spinner Bochereau bowled well without reward as Porter moved to a well made 100. Ballinger returned to the attack and eventually got the visiting skipper for a match winning 113 off just 103 balls putting Bashley into a commanding position.

Ridley (13) & Gidney (15) added some quick rate runs as Bashley ended up 272 for 6. Alton despite a fantastic spell from Mortimer ending with figures of 2-28 off 10 were left to rue dropped chances and bowled a massive 42 extras.

Alton knew with the outfield still soft & relatively slow that a near faultless chase would be required. However with the addition of Marais to the Alton middle order the home side possessed a potentially powerful batting line up and were confident of chasing their target down.

Michael Heffernan joined Alex Hammond at the top of the order as the Brewers looked to get off to a good start. Hammond did just that striking two early boundaries off Nash, but the veteran bowler had the final say as he found Hammond’s edge and Alton has lost their first wicket. Hammond caught behind for 8, Alton 12 for 1.

Debutant Marais joined Heffernan. Marais looked comfortable leaving well but looked to take advantage of anything loose. Unfortunately for the Brewers Marais miss timed a wide delivery from Gidney as he skied a simple chance and was caught for 10 with the home side falling to 30 for 2.

Heffernan was struggling at this point and was digging In keeping the accurate Currie at bay. Harris got himself in and looked to be finding his range before he edged behind off the bowling of Taylor for 23. Alton now 64 for 3. Skipper Myers and Heffernan looked to get a foothold in the game, Heffernan passed 50 as Alton edged closer to parity. A stand of 88 came to an end as Myers was caught at cover for 46 and Alton were 152 for 4.

Michael Heffernan continued to try and keep the home side up with the rate as he took the attack to Bashley but with partners coming and going the task was becoming tougher. Mark Heffernan was bowled for seven & Hugo Hammond was run out unfortunately backing up at the non strikes end for four. Mortimer hit a flurry of boundaries but when he was bowled by the returning Currie for 14 Alton were 211 for 7 still requiring 61 at 10 an over.

Salmon departed without scoring and Alton were effectively left hunting for bonus points. Heffernan moved to 90 but his resilient innings fell short of three figures as he was caught off the bowling of Currie who took 2 for 12 off his 9 overs.

Alton made it to 225 before Ballinger (6) was the last man to fall. Alton falling 47 runs short and left to rue missed opportunities. There were positives to be taken from the game but Alton will need to work on the basics as they travel to Havant next week where they will look to emulate last seasons first win over the 2017 champions.

ALTON 2nd XI v Hythe & Dibden 1st XI
Seconds falter with the bat and fall to opening day defeat
Alton’s second team started their 2018 campaign away to Hythe & Dibden on a hot bank holiday weekend. A rushed start due to some heavy traffic enroute was not the ideal preparation. Second team debuts were handed to two of Alton’s promising young cricketers, Toby Fuller and Ellis Ballinger.

Under new but familiar leadership, skipper Lee Partner lost the first toss of the season and Alton were asked to bat first. Postles departed early and despite some solid stroke play holding up in the slow outfield it was a reasonable start. Green and Paul then fell in quick succession leaving Alton 31-3 after the first 10 overs.

Alton have the services of Michael Salmon back for this year, who took last summer to follow the Rugby Lions tour. The usual power hitting of Salmon coupled with Andy Pearce’s solid stroke play resulted in a promising and solid partnership, including a fine tussle with H&D’s premier spinner and Alton’s big stroke player. Unfortunately the spinner prevailed and Salmon departed for 40 leaving the score 84-4.

Very quickly Hythe & Dibden seized the initiative and 3 further wickets fell for just 3 runs, a disappointing situation given the promising start. However, some dogged and resilient batting from the lower order of Ball, Fuller and especially Carpenter ensured Alton took the innings to the penultimate ball of the allotted 50 overs. Ian Carpenter batting superbly for a very valuable 24. Alton were bowled out for 138.

Heads did not drop at tea and Alton knew if they bowled and fielded well they had a chance still in this game. After a rusty and wayward start in Salmon’s first over he quickly found his stride and took 3 early wickets. Toby Fuller keeping superbly well to prevent leg side wides to just the single run conceded. Carpenter bowled extremely tight and kept the runs at bay resulting in H&D reaching 40-3 after the first ten overs.

Alton sensed an opening and spin bowlers Sampson and Partner were introduced into the attack and despite some good bowling, a hard hitting 48 from the opener with some swinging from the middle order proved just too much for Alton to defend a low total on a small ground.

Not the result Alton were looking for but positives for sure to be taken from the game. Toby Fuller kept with excellent confidence and had a faultless display behind the stumps. Ellis Ballinger picked up his first two second team wickets with his line and length bowling. Both players having real potential for the future.

Alton host Longparish this weekend and will be champing at the bit to get the first win of the season under the belt.

Alton 3rd XI v Oakley 1st XI
Promotion Hopefuls prove too strong for Brewers third string
Oakley batted first against a team combined with youth and experience. Despite captain Gerry Dique (41) not going on to get an expected big score the visitors still posted a total of 227-5 off their 45 overs thanks to all batsmen contributing with Alex Brundle (47*) top scoring. For Alton, opening seamers Steve Scott and youngster Ethan Streek bowled well early on and young spinner Sam Bridger caused problems when he was introduced to the attack. Young wicketkeeper Rowan Sharratt did well with the gloves but an inconsistent performance in the field meant there was definitely room for improvement from the home side. Good ground work and throwing produced 2 run outs, but a few dropped catches left the Brewers third string wondering what might have been.

The home team never got going in reply after losing openers Jon Porter and Neil Heffernan early on then skipper Ian Mason not long after. Freeman came in at four as Alton looked to re-build the chase but when Ali Wright and Martin Ball soon followed their leader back to the pavilion. Freeman (23) survived well against accurate seam bowling but struggled against the slow spin of Rob Wood and was caught at mid-on trying to go big over the top. With the top 6 out and the score well below the hundred mark it was now a case of survival to see what bonus points and total the Brewers could muster. Scott and young Toby Pascoe (top scorer with 36) steadied the innings before late contributions from Sharratt (23), Bridger and Streek left Alton on 140-9 which denied their strong opponents a full points win.

Alton 4th XI v Grayswood III
Fours fall just short
The 4s were unable to follow up their victory last weekend when playing against Greyswood 3s at the delightful Lurgershall ground. After a faltering start Alton scored 132, Dan Trim propping up the innings with some late fireworks. In response Greyswood reached their target for the loss of 8 wickets off the penultimate ball of the game. It was great to see youngster Sam Crook taking three wickets for Alton.