Ballinger landmark, Evans heroics, but no wins
Ballinger bags number 400, but Brewers beaten by Burridge
Alton began the day looking to kick start their season against newly promoted Burridge. On a damp JCG pitch the visitors won the toss and elected to bat first. Scoring was not going to be easy but a combination of poor bowling, fielding and some patient batting Burridge were able to post a more than competitive total.
Alton welcomed back overseas import Dewayne Bowden into the fold but it was the young debutant Dan Scott who took the early spoils clean bowling James Richards for 2. Scott then picked up the prize scalp of former Hampshire man Derek Kenway (9) a short pitched delivery that kept slightly low taking the off stump and reducing Burridge to 45 for 2.
The variation of bounce was a concern for all and Alton were aware of the need to keep scoring opportunities to a minimum. Unfortunately for the Brewers a lack of discipline with the ball consistently released any pressure and at this early stage Alton had already given away 20 extras.
Things did not improve for the Brewers as they failed to take their chances, dropping the hard hitting Burridge opener Chowdhury on 2 occasions. When Chowdhury (44) was finally dismissed by Bowden, Burridge had progressed to 91 for 4 at the half way point. The score moved onto 117 before Ballinger picked up what was his 399th SEPCL wicket removing the Burridge keeper for 12.
With Alton looking to take quick wickets knowing that every run would be vital, the Burridge middle on dug in and kept the scoreboard ticking over. At 161 for 6 the return of Scott to the attack saw Alton pick up some late wickets with the debutant ending with impressive figures of 4-26.
Bowden (3 for 38) also picked up some lower order wickets, but it was Ballinger who claimed the final wicket which was also his 400th SEPCL scalp. A major achievement for the Alton spinner but celebrations were a little flat as Burridge’s skipper Ankers finished on 35 not out pushing the visitors up to a tough target of 195. With Alton conceding over 50 runs in extras the target was far more than what the Brewers would have hoped.
Alton’s chase got off to the worst possible start with Hammond being removed in the first over caught behind off the bowling of Gregroy Threw (2 for 29). Hale followed to the same bowler and Alton were left reeling at 1 for 2.
Things did not get much better for Alton and the loss of regular wickets and the up and down nature of a drying JCG surface saw Alton slump to 54 for 6 with runs hard to come by.
With skipper Myers still at the crease Alton were still hopeful and when he was joined by Joe Paul, a mini revival was on the cards, a stand of 43 lifted Alton to 97 for 7 but with overs running out the loss of both Paul (22) and Myers (46) who was superbly caught and bowled by Burridges Geoff Dodds (4 for 30) Alton were reduced to 108 for 8 and only a batting point to play for.
Not fazed by the situation Daniel Scott continued his impressive performance with 19 not out at the end, him and Sampson frustrating the visitors a little in the final overs but Alton fell well short of their target and were dismissed for 126.
Alton will need to improve in all areas If they are to change their fortunes. A change in format next week sees Alton travel to the Isle of Wight in the first of the all day games to take on Ventnor.
Evans heroics in vain
Alton 2s lost their first game of the season in the local Derby against Basingstoke.
Travelling the short distance to May’s Bounty, Alton were inserted on a green pitch after the heavy rain during the week.
They were soon in trouble as Andy Postles was dismissed first ball of the game, before Howard Gadsby (22) and Andy Pearce (12) got the board moving. Mark Heffernan (16) also looked in good touch, but none were able to stick around, and wickets fell regularly.
Alton were in a big hole with the score on 71 for 7, but were rescued by a fantastic innings from Dave Evans.
The tall batsman worked the ball round the field comfortably, and paced his innings to perfection.
Towards the end of the 50 overs he was ably supported by skipper Alex Hughes and Tom Paul (both 21) but Evans was the star attraction with some glorious drives as he finished on a superbly constructed 74 not out to help Alton to a competitive 180 for 8.
Alton felt confident of defending the total, and that feeling was heightened when Ian Carpenter struck in his first over.
However, Basingstoke took the attack to the Alton bowlers with Muhammed Rizwan striking the ball fiercely. He was supported by the more measured Gerhardus Dique as the pair took the game away with the help of some wayward Alton bowling.
Dique was removed by Lee Partner for a well made 44, but Rizwan continued to blast Basingstoke towards their target.
Partner eventually claimed his scalp too, but the home side were almost there, and Steve Buckley took them over the line in comfortable fashion.
Alton will look to bounce back as St Cross 2s visit Alton this Saturday (1pm)
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The 3rd XI lost to Tadley Hobos, while the 4th XI got the best result of the weekend, a winning draw against Frensham with Cameron Hamer (39) impressing with the bat, while Richard Legg (2-28) and Matthew Pein (2-11) helped do the damage with the ball.