The mighty 4s knew that with only 3 of the 10 sides safe from relegation, due to a league restructure at the end of the 2017 season, a strong start was needed.
In game 1 verses Headley Alton elected to field on the drying Binstead track. Straight bowling and some excellent fielding reduced Headley to the Nelson score of 111 off 35. Ellis Ballinger (8-0-36-2) got two early wickets, after assisting Jon Porter with the run out of Ray the Headley opener. Porter himself then got a wicket – caught neatly by Ali Wright before the home team started to rebuild. Gemma Porter (8-0-18-1) then made the break through trapping Cornwall lbw, opening up the tail for the accurate bowling of Martin Ball (8-3-12-3) to rip through the middle order. The final wicket was taken by the occasional bowler Bramah Snr. with Headley on 111, all out with 5 overs to spare. The run chase got off to a wobbly start with Green (11), Heffernan (5), Wright (2) and Bramah Snr (0) dismissed in the first 11 overs and the score on 20-4. Cue the steady hand of Crook 43* and Wills 20 who put on a half century to settle the away teams nerves and bring them back into the game. Bramah Jnr survived a close lbw shout before hitting a sublime 24* to see the townsmen home inside 31 overs.
After a tough start the Brewers 4th XI eventually kick-started their season with a much needed home win against Witley. Asked to bat first the Brewers implemented the “Friday night plan” with Martin Green and Ali Wright opening the innings. Wright punished the wide deliveries and kept a good rate through the early overs before being suckered into a sharp catch for 28 by Cook, the pick of the Witley bowlers. Max Mayes came to the middle for a short productive partnership but then a typical mini collapse saw the Brewers on 101/4 and the game back in the balance. Sebi Bramah then joined the skipper and between them they added 120 before Green was eventually out for 65. With a competitive total already secured Bramah quickly followed for an excellent 76, before Witley ran through the tail getting the last wicket on the 6th ball of the 45th over – Alton 257. The Brewer’s youngsters then came to the party with Ellis Ballinger making the breakthrough with two early wickets, including the dangerous Witley skipper. Max Mayes and Rowan Sharratt both kept the scoring rate down but it was Toby Fuller and then Kian Ventham who made the decisive breakthroughs. Alton were nearly made to pay for a gentlemanly appeal retraction when it looked like the game was won with 20 overs to go, only for the Witley last wicket pair to put on an excellent stand. It took the experienced Jon Porter to get the last wicket with his last delivery and to secure all 10 points.
All managers should have received their data packs by email this week (if not please let Martin know). Tables are also printed out and struck on scorers box wall at the club.Please use this and make any transfers by midnight Friday when the window closes.
The U15’s put in a fantastic performance Sunday morning grasping victory from the jaws of defeat with some superb bowling at the death by Giles Hartley and Dhevena Patel. With the half term causing a number of key absences, the team was complimented with five players from the ever growing girls squad; Dhevena was joined by Asha Wills and Alton’s U13 County trio of Amelia Marshall, Abigail Green and Gemma Porter.
Skipper Tom Green lost the toss and his supposed “weakened” team was asked to bat first at the Fox Lane ground alongside the Indoor School. There were a few nervous glances around the Alton changing room when the plan to bat boy/girl pairs through the innings was shared. When Tom and Amelia both retired with the score on 86/0, it was the Eversley boys who were nervously looking around the field to see what was about to hit them next! Green once again just ran out of overs to hit a half century, retiring on 48* after his eight overs; he was supported excellently by Marshall 17* who played some brilliant late cuts against the Eversley openers. Max Mayes and Gemma Porter followed this up with a steady stint of run building, Porter eventually also retiring on 12*. Mayes was bowled out for 7 in what turned out to be Eversley’s only success looking to hurry up the rate. The home team’s bowing improved as the run rate started to stall and Alton were ultimately restricted to 131/1 in the allotted 20 overs.
The Eversley top three came out aggressively and despite some great bowling from Patel, Wills, Mayes, Pascoe, Marshall, Ventham and Abi Green for 16 overs the home team looked well in control always staying comfortably ahead of the required rate. A fantastic catch from Kian Ventham was the highlight of the early overs. Despite some spirited fielding the Eversley middle order kept the run rate going, and with it the ascendency for the home team. Needing only 15 runs from the last four overs with 5 wickets in hand the game seemed up for Alton. Patel then produced a 2-run 17th over and in the penultimate over a great caught and bowled. This produced the pressure that was exploited by Hartley at the other end with three wickets and two run outs (one he took himself and the second by the older Green). The bowlers were supported by some great fielding and innovative fielding placements. In the end Eversley were restricted to 123, incredibly bowled out 8 runs short of the target off the last ball of the game. A superb all-round performance by the Alton Mixed XI; and hopefully a huge chunk of valuable experience for the Alton girls.