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Portsmouth v Alton, National Knockout

A change of personnel from the previous days friendly against Tring Park; but no let up in the strength and depth of Alton as they brushed aside Portsmouth in round 1 of the ECB National Club Championship at St Helens, Portsmouth.

Scott Myers won the toss on what would end up being a dry but cold and windy day by the sea, opting to Bat first.

Jack Myers joined Will Phillips as the Brewers set about their task with gusto. Opening Bowlers Vikram Dawson and James Scott struggled early with the strong breeze rushing diagonally across the field but settled into a tighter line. The outfield slower than expected made shots to the longer square boundaries harder to reach and when Phillips miscued his attempted slog-sweep off change bowler Farshaan Jemildar, Vikram Dawson made a difficult catch look easy, Phillips gone for 30 and the score 67-1.

Jack Myers (15) was next to go as he was run out after being called through by Brother; Scott. – 68-2.

Ryan Hale’s first outing of the season brought quick runs as he and Scott Myers were lightning quick to punish anything even remotely loose, they added 62 in quick time before Hale was caught at long off by James Scott off the bowling of Robert Jones for 31 – 130-3. The runs just kept coming as Portsmouth had no answer to the Brewers placement and power, Jack Penn’s quick fire 32 included an delightful pull over midwicket and over the fence into the adjoining pitch and put golf course. When Penn was bowled looking to loft over extra cover the score was looking ominous at 227-4. Myers looked set for a century before being caught by keeper Ballard-Collins attempting to manoeuvre a James Scott delivery to fine leg, his well made 87 should stand him in good stead. 241-5.

Andy Postles (14*) and Lawrence Hughes (23*) continued the onslaught as the Brewers eventually finished their 45 overs having amassed a formidable 274 – 5.

With overseas players unable to participate in this competition, Dewayne Bowden and Bradley Kneebone sought shelter from the cold in the clubhouse and watched on as Ben Mortimer and Scott Myers opened the bowling. Both bowlers also struggled early with control in the wind, but Mortimer soon struck, removing Matthew Shaw. Shaw had been given a life the ball before but Hale made no mistake snaring a tough chance at 3rd slip – Shaw gone for 4 and Portsmouth 36-1.

Jemildar was then removed first ball by Mortimer as he was trapped in front by an excellent in-swinger.

Fielding restrictions remain in place for the first 15 overs and with just two fielders outside the 30 yard circle anything loose was finding the boundary, Mitchell particularly quick to punish any indiscretion.

Scott Myers then lured Mitchell into a back foot drive that found James Foulkes at extra cover, Foulkes holding on well to the nicely timed drive. 53-3.

Portsmouth were still progressing well; and were scoring at nearly 6 an over, when Scott Myers then struck again to remove Alex Hammond for LBW for 5 and Jack Myers trapped Nicky Wyatt for 8; Portsmouth had slipped a little to 72-5.

The unfortunate Jordan Palmer-Goddard was then thrust into the action, the youngster who had tweaked his shoulder ligaments in Portsmouth’s match the day before struggled to find the gaps from his attempted deflections. Unable to open his shoulders to try to get the ball away, he and Robert Jones also sporting a hand injury then nudged and nurdled the ball around. Ireson found his rhythm straight away and the scoring rate dried up, his 9 overs costing just 14 runs.

Tom Paul replaced Jack Myers but despite the rate required climbing, neither he nor Ireson could tempt the batsmen.

James Foulkes looked tidy in his second outing of the season. Palmer-Goddard finally succumbed to the shoulder injury that had been troubling him and retired hurt, Dawson joining Jones at the crease.

The game drifted to an inevitable end as Portsmouth literally limped their way to 185-5 from their 45 overs as Alton cruised to a 89 run victory a visit to either Normandy or Havant face the Brewers in the next round.

View the match scorecard here

The Brewers Southern Electric Premier League season starts this Saturday 7 th May as they entertain Lymington at the JCG. The club is still seeking a Match Ball sponsor for this fixture – just £35 secures you this honour – please contact matt.ireson@altoncc.co.uk if you or anyone you know is interested