Off the mark in style at St Cross, Seconds drop a heartbreaker

Alton still searching for that elusive first league victory travelled to the venue of their T20 win only 6 days earlier. They faced a stronger looking St Cross side looking to seek revenge. Alton who were without their influential overseas import Dewayne Bowden, won the toss and on a good surface elected to bowl first.

The decision to bowl immediately paid dividends when Ben Mortimer in the first over of the day had the talented St Cross captain caught at gully by Ballinger. Mortimer bowling with good pace and bounce was causing the St Cross batsmen a lot of trouble, beating the edge with increasing regularity.

St Cross had moved to 42 before Mortimer found the edge of Drakeley who was ct behind by the Alton keeper Janmohamed. It was soon three, Mortimer (3-44) again taking the edge, the catch smartly taken by Scott Myers at second slip saw Finney depart for 30. Alton in the ascendancy then picked up the prize scalp of Lewis McManus, the Brewers skipper Myers clean bowling the young England Under 19 batsmen for 2. 42 for 1 had become 54 for 5 when Myers (2-49) removed Green for naught.

The St Cross middle order looked to repair the damage but wickets continued to fall and St Cross slipped to 118 for 8. With lunch approaching Taylor and Fay looked to consolidate and with a few lusty blows from Taylor, St Cross went into the luncheon interval 136 for 8.

After lunch with the visitors were keen to take the final 2 wickets, the St Cross tail continued to frustrate the Brewers. The score progressed to 155 for 8 before Jack Myers finally beat Fay’s defences to bowl his leg spinning counter part for 10. Jack Myers (2-20) then took the final wicket leaving Taylor stranded on a valuable 46 and St Cross all out for 165.

Alton needing to put previous weeks failings with the bat behind them looked to be positive from the start. A change in opening partnership saw Hale who had put the St Cross bowlers to the sword in the T20 game opening with Heffernan. Alton got off to a fantastic start on what was a true batting surface. Both openers dispatching any loose deliveries and any early nerves were settled as the score moved past 50.

The off spin of Finney (1-34) put the brakes on a little, and with the score on 84 Hale was dismissed in somewhat bizarre fashion as an inside edge went between his legs and was caught and leg slip for 29. The skipper Myers then came to the crease who looked to continue his good form from last week. Heffernan past 50 and looked to pick up singles as Myers set about reducing the target further.

With less than 30 required Heffernan was dismissed for a well-made 56. Myers made a better than a run a ball 50 before he was also removed by Walsh (2-19) but with only 8 need for victory Alton were almost there. It was left to the returning Will Phillips (14*) and Abeed Janmohamed (2*) to see the Brewers over the line in what ended up being a comfortable but much needed 7 wicket victory, chasing down their target inside 34 overs and before tea.

Alton will look to continue their recent upturn in form when they face Lymington at home next Saturday. Before returning to the shorter format of the game on Sunday when they face Sarisbury in the second round of the SEPLC T20 cup – 3pm start at Jubilee. The bar will be open.

Seconds drop a heartbreaker

Alton 2nd XI dropped a heartbreaking game on Saturday as they lost to Portsmouth & Southsea by one wicket.

Batting first, Alton had crumbled from 90 for 2 to 162 all out, but their fantastic efforts with the ball were denied as the visitors got home by the smallest of margins.

Alton had started will initially with Howard Gadsby (23), Jon Dow (24) and Mark Heffernan (23) all getting starts but failing to push on.

A collapse then saw them lost wickets regularly against some accurate bowling as Matthew Benfield (3-29) benefitted.

Skipper Alex Hughes (20*) helped Alton edge up to a competitive total, but they knew they would have to bowl and field exceptionally to defend a below par score.

The bowlers soon got into their stride and reduced the visitors to 54 for 4, with Hughes (2-35) taking two early wickets.

A significant stand of 64 between Lewis Russel (40) and Ollie Perrin (35) took the visitors to 118, but Alton clawed their way back into the game with some accurate spin bowling from Andy Pearce (3-21) and Lee Partner (1-22).

When Patrick Sampson struck two late LBW blows, Alton were one wicket from victory with 17 required.

Robert Evans then worked the ball around well and struck crucial boundaries to take his side to the brink of victory – only for Alton to spurn a chance on the deep mid-wicket fence with just two more runs required.

Evans proceeded to knock of the runs and send the visiting players home happy, and leaving Alton dejected.

The batting had let Alton down this time, and although disappointed they did superbly to keep themselves in the game. However, Alton will have to post a bigger score when they travel to local rivals Tichbourne on Saturday.