Alton stun St Cross in JCG thriller
Alton won what could turn out to be a crucial tie against Winchester based St Cross Symondians on Saturday in a match that was dominated for the most part by St Cross – but the Brewers showed their determination and resolve to snatch a remarkable victory.
Alton’s Scott Myers won the toss and chose to make first use of a slow looking Jubilee Cricket Ground surface, Will Phillips and Jon Dow opened and took the score to 19 before Phillips was bowled by Jack Bransgrove for 11 whilst looking to flick away to the leg side.
Ryan Hale and Dow then added 11 more before Richard Taylor induced an edge from a lifting delivery and George Adair completed the catch behind the stumps.
Hale and Scott Myers consolidated and were watchful and runs were at a premium. St Cross were soon celebrating again as Myers was caught by Charles Esson for a well made 27, with the Brewers 76-3. Hale followed Myers back just one run later for a patient 23. 77-4.
The Brewers then suffered a mini-collapse as first Dewayne Bowden was caught behind for 12, (94-5), Lawrence Hughes bowled by Jordan Finney for 1 (95-6) and Rob Heywood was then well caught by Richard Taylor for 4 (95-7).
Jack Myers and Mark Heffernan added a crucial partnership of 40. Heffernan was busy at the crease, before Myers was well caught by Ed Green. Matt Ireson fell cheaply, but Julian Ballinger and Heffernan added another 13 runs before Heffernan finally fell for 34, and Brewers limped to 151 all out.
St Cross started their innings well, Esson and the attacking Adair reaching 34 before Scott Myers found the outside edge of Esson’s bat, Bowden gratefully accepting the catch at slip.
Adair was joined by Lawrence Prittipaul, the ex-Hampshire professional looking comfortable as Alton struggled to settle into a consistent line and length. Adair was next to go when he missed a straight full delivery from Jack Myers, LBW for a well made 37, the score 51-2.
Kiwi William Walsh and Prittipaul took little risks as the partnership built slowly and they had added 37 before Jack Myers struck again, Heffernan taking a smart catch down the leg side. Walsh out for 19 and the score 88-3.
Another ex-Hampshire man now arrived at the crease as skipper Richard Logan looked to steer his charges home. Ireson, Ballinger and Jack Myers were generating prodigious turn and bounce and both batsmen experienced several moments of good fortune, but the loose deliveries kept coming and the Brewers were unable to apply any prolonged periods of pressure.
The score reached 125-4 when a mistimed Logan drive fell just short of Myers at mid-on – Logan called Prittipaul through but he was beaten by an excellent throw, with Heffernan completing the run-out and Prittipaul’s excellent innings over for 41.
Ed Green joined Logan but was quickly undone by a Ballinger slower ball.
Scott Myers then re-introduced himself back into the attack and struck immediately, Logan’s leading edge being held by Phillips at cover, Logan gone for 26. 137-6.
That soon became 137-7 as Finney drove on the up and found the safe hands of Ryan Hale, Finney falling for 0 as Alton sensed the chance an upset.
Myers then clean bowled Bransgrove also for 0, 141-8 and when Ballinger’s sensational diving stop, roll and throw beat the retreating Tom Foyle, St Cross were in freefall, Foyle gone for 5, the visitors still 10 short of victory with one wicket left.
Richard Taylor and Harry Foyle hung around and patiently waited for opportunities to score, Alton were squeezing but were mindful of the shorter square boundary and the narrowness of the margin.
Ballinger then sent the team and the crowd into raptures clean bowling Taylor for 2, Alton winning by just 7 runs and St Cross had lost their last 7 wickets for just 17.
Brewers skipper Scott Myers instrumental in Alton’s victory turning in excellent figures of 13 overs, 6 maidens, 4 wickets for just 16 runs.
The Brewers face yet another crucial game this coming Saturday (6th July) as they travel to second-bottom of the Time Pennant table Lymington CC.