Brewers batsmen fail to fire
The weather forecast had been telling of the arrival heavy rain for most of Saturday but the Brewers arrived at Havant Park in beautiful blue sunshine.
The weather; it turned out; ended up being one of the highlights of another disappointing batting performance by the Brewers.
Havant Skipper Richard Hindley won the toss and chose to bowl first, Will Phillips and Alex Hammond looking circumspect but untroubled during the opening overs. The pair had advanced the score onto 19 before Jez Ord drew Phillips into drive onto the onside, Ben Walker completing a simple catch.
Ryan Hale and Hammond double that score to 38 before an excellent Ord delivery accounted for Hale, caught Hindley at slip for 4.
Skipper Scott Myers looked fluent but the introduction of spin with Steven Matthews saw Hindley gleefully accept another chance at slip, Myers gone for 16, Brewers still well placed at 72-3.
Dewayne Bowden was watchful at the crease, Hammond edged closed to a maiden Southern League half century but was left frustrated as a beautifully whipped stroke was well caught by Steve Dean at mid-wicket, Matthews had his second wicket, Hammond had reached a promising 46 and the Brewers were 81-4.
Robert Heywood fell first ball to a Hindley delivery that turned and caught the inside edge, Hopson parrying at short-leg before completing the catch, 82-5.
Mark Heffernan was next to go, Matthews left-arm spin benefitting from the foot marks to bowl the Brewers wicketkeeper around his legs as he looked to stay positive. 83-6.
Bowden and Ben Mortimer added 18 to take the score to 101 before Hindley trapped Bowden LBW as he looked to turn the experienced spinner away to the leg-side, Bowden out for 14.
The lunch break was looming, but Hindley struck again as Mortimer’s watchful innings ended; bowled for 10.
Ireson had to wait the thirty minutes for the lunch break to face his first ball, and that was all he got to face as he was adjudged LBW. 108-9. Ballinger comfortably survived the Hat-trick ball.
The wickets kept tumbling and Matthews claimed his fourth wicket of the innings, the left arm spinner perhaps fortunate to gain the LBW decision against Ballinger. The Brewers had crumbled from 72-2 to 109 all out.
Still no sign of the expected deluge, Havant started their innings as if the rain was on the horizon, Bowden and Mortimer finding that the surface was unsuited to raw pace and both were quickly replaced by spin.
Ireson struck in his first over, Peter Hopson’s inside edge finding its way to Scott Myers at leg-slip via the batman’s pad. 38-1.
That immediately became 38-2 as Ballinger drew Robert Gibson into a defensive shot, the turn and bounce again finding the inside edge and pad, Will Phillips taking the catch under the helmet at Short Leg.
Steve Dean had survived an exceptionally confident LBW appeal and Ballinger had put down a steepling chance at Mid-Wicket before he finally fell caught and bowled Ballinger for 11, 63-3.
Alton were doing their best to dig in, their tactics were almost spot on, and when Ireson trapped Hindley LBW for 20, they knew that they had the slimmest of outside chances of creating an upset.
Unfortunately Chris Morgan and Ben Walker saw Havant through to a comfortable 6 wicket victory.
The Brewers will hope for a better display against holders South Wilts as they visit the JCG this coming Saturday in the final round of time games. 11:30am start.
* Alton’s second XI were left frustrated after rain intervened in a close contest against Gosport.
Winning the toss, Alton elected to bowl, but turned in a surprisingly poor performance with the ball as the visitors totalled 240.
Alton were well in the hunt thanks to Andy Postles’ rapid score of 70, but the rain came down with Alton on 105 for 2 needing a handful more runs within just three more overs to achieve a result.