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Brewers denied prestigious double

Alton’s first eleven were left frustrated and disappointed after defeat to table topping South Wilts at the weekend.

The Salisbury men capitulated against the Brewers in the overs match earlier in the season and a repeat was highly possible as the townsmen looked to consolidate their standing in the league table.

The inclement weather in the week building up to the match had left the pitch surface softer and perhaps greener than would normally be expected for August, and when Scott Myers won the toss he had no hesitation in inviting South Wilts to bat first.

The humid conditions and stiff breeze rushing across the JCG made control less than easy and the scoreboard was ticking over a little too fast where the Brewers were concerned.

The score had reached 67 when Bowden made the breakthrough, bowling Tom Cowley for 29. Myers replaced Bowden and struck soon after, Will Phillips taking a regulation bat pad catch at Short Leg to remove Jack Mynott for 2 (73-2) . Myers struck again, the same combination as Tom Morton flicked off his hip, Phillip’s catch this time a testament to his supreme reactions. 73-3.

South Wilts captain James Hayward strode the crease, as he and and Burl accumulated runs steadily. Finally Burl went for 63; caught down the leg side from Ballinger, the score 126-4.

James Hibberd looked to increase the tempo, half chances were missed but when Hibberd tried to pierce the offside field off of Ireson he found Ballinger’s safe hands at cover, gone for 19 and the score 164-5.

Joe Cranch fell to the debutant Toby Salmon, but not before he had moved to 30 and the scoreboard 219-6.

Hayward passed a fortuitous 50 then looked to accelerate, two sublime reverse sweeps negated the leg-side field the Brewers set to try to contain him, he finally fell looking for the shorter leg-side boundary, Myers talking a simple catch and Ireson had his second of the game. 252-7.

Owen Alsop and Rob Franklin 16 and 5 not out pushed the visitors to 266 before the declaration came one ball shy of their maximum allocation of overs.

A drying surface and a brand new ball made the Brewers innings slightly precarious, James Hibberd quickly removing Phillips for 4 (9-1), Hammond also for 4 (30-2).

The last over before lunch saw Hale given out LBW to a Hibberd delivery, the Brewers headed to tea 36-3.

Bowden joined Scott Myers and they took the score to 58 before Hibberd struck again, Myers receiving a shorter delivery that stayed low and striking the stumps.

Bowden was looking fluent, so Jonathan Dow simply looked to support the Kiwi as he kept the scoreboard moving. Down became Hibberd’s fifth wicket of the innings another close LBW, 88-5.

Mark Heffernan was caught by Stephen Warner looking to re-inject some positivity, 89-6.

Jack Austin and Bowden added 52 for the seventh wicket, Austin’s supreme concentration at blocking out came to an end when he was given out caught behind off the left arm spin of James Hayward.

Bowden crunched his way to 99 with a towering six into the trees at the railway end and shortly after flicked away to reach his maiden Alton century.

Toby Salmon fell plumb LBW to Sheppard the score now 165-8. Bowden was still attacking but he finally fell for an excellent 113 caught Hayward bowled Franklin. 172-9, and when Ballinger was caught short leg, the innings was over.

South Wilts ran out winners by 92 runs, but the Brewers taking a lot of heart from the performance and knowing that the outcome may very well have been a different story on a different day.

The First XI are at home again this coming Saturday as they entertain the talented youngsters of the Hampshire Academy as the season reverts back to Overs games, 1pm start at the JCG.