Penn mightier than the sword – Alton beat Totton
Alton renewed rivalries against Totton in the first round of the Southern Electric T20, the Brewers keen to put in a decent performance against a side that play the game hard and who are backed by a fervent crowd at their Linden Oval home.
The spectacle of the shortened game with the coloured clothing and an orange ball had drawn a large Bank Holiday Sunday crowd to this fixture, recent tensions between the two clubs had added an additional spice to what was already deemed to be a must win game for both sides.
Ex Alton player Dave Taylor won the Toss for Totton and the Brewers took the field resplendent in their navy blue.
Bowden and Mortimer took the hard new ball and were quick to trouble the batsmen. Australian Academy player Will Bosito fell early as he advanced to Mortimer looking to take advantage of the fielding power play, Will Phillips taking a sensational catch – back peddling at mid-off, a great start for the Brewers 7-1.
Jimmy Taylor looked nervous at the crease and survived a close LBW appeal before settling down nicely, he and Darron Augustus added 24 runs before Jack Myers trapped Augustus in front 31-2.
The double change worked nicely as James Haggaty edged ireson through to Keeper Heffernan for 3 to make the score 38-3.
Dave Taylor, perhaps inhibited by a back injury, looked to work the ball around rather than attempt anything too expansive; rotated the strike with namesake Jimmy and Dave had reached 33 before picking out Bowden running in off the long off boundary, Scott Myers the bowler. 117-4.
Jimmy Taylor continued on his merry way, picking gaps where the bowling allowed, but generally looking to rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard moving. His final late flurry of boundaries had boosted Totton’s score to a decent 155-5. All 6 bowlers used by the Brewers did an excellent job on what was proving to be an excellent pitch for batting with short boundaries and a lightning quick outfield. Bowden particularly impressive bowling his 4 overs for just 10 runs, including a rare T20 Maiden.
The Brewers knew that they needed to put the batting display of the day before behind them in a similar fashion to Totton, who had also been skittled for 91 the day before. Bowden and Ryan Hale looked to set the tone but Bosito’s leg-spin accounted for them both, Bowden advancing down the pitch and yorking himself and Hale crashing the ball back to the bowler. 8-1 and then 16-2.
This brought together Jack Penn and Scott Myers, supreme confidence; shot making and improvisation saw the Brewers slowly take control of the game. Penn particularly impressive as he manoeuvred the field around mercilessly, striking the ball to the boundary with regularity.
Haggaty and Jimmy Taylor particularly suffering at the hands of the talented youngster, The Brewers had quietened the partisan home crowd and when Penn launched Taylor onto the roof of the Clubhouse the silence of the Totton followers was noticeable by its absence.
Penn fell to the returning Darron Augustus for a brilliant 73 from just 41 balls the score was 130-3 but Will Phillips was quick into his stride clipping Augustus to the unmanned square leg boundary first ball.
Tensions were running high, Myers was then bowled by Augustus for an excellent 45, 135-4 and when Haggaty claimed the wicket of Michael Heffernan for 2, 146-5 the nerves were close to shredding point.
There were deliveries in hand it was just a matter of handling the pressure, some Brewers players were firmly ensconced in the changing room unable to watch the action unfold. Phillips striking the ball confidently and so the match went to the last over.
DJ Steve who had been entertaining the crowd between overs and at the fall of wickets with musical delights could have chose “Under Pressure” and it would perfectly described the feeling on both sides.
Dylan Augustus started the last over; The Brewers 5 wickets down with just 3 runs to win; Mortimer’s drive deflected past the Wicketkeeper and away to the boundary, the scenes on the balcony where the dressing rooms are situated was one of relief and jubilation.
A fantastic game of cricket and the crowd were royally entertained. The Brewers march on to face Langley Manor away, conquerors of Basingstoke, in round 2.
Man of the Match without doubt was Jack Penn – his clean striking and ability to manipulate the bowling and fielders was a joy to behold.