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School of Hard Knocks for Alton, but consolation at St Cross

Alton were denied their first win of the season as they fell agonisingly short of a revised Hampshire Academy target. Due to the storms of Friday night what was due to be an all-day game was cut to the 50 overs format. With the weather still uncertain the Alton skipper Myers won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The young Hampshire Academy side made a solid start with Weatherly and England U19 International Alsop seeing off the new ball. Mortimer bowled with pace and bounce on a true JCG surface but the Hampshire openers negotiated any tricky moments and with dark skies looming looked to consolidate before the inevitable downpour brought proceedings to a halt.

With the game in severe doubt both skippers were keen to get a game on and with the cut off time looming the umpires agreed to take the field. Hampshire now had to face their 50 overs and Alton chase a revised target in 25. On retaking the field Hampshire were in the ascendancy and they continued to look impressive as the opening partnership moved past 100. However overs were ticking by and with Jack Myers (2 for 42) bowling well he picked up the important breakthrough finding the edge of Weatherly (51) who was caught by the Alton keeper Janmohamed.

Alsop looked to give the innings some impetus but with the score on 152 the turning point of the innings came when Sampson had Alsop stumped on 74. With both openers gone the Academy fell away dramatically, Sampson ending up with fantastic figures of 5 for 36 and the Alton keeper snaffling 4 dismissals. A superb catch from Hammond late on helped Ballinger (2 for 24) get in on the act and after a great start the Academy limped towards their total of 209 for 9 in their 50 overs.

With a straight turnaround Alton’s target was set at 136 off of 25 overs. Whilst the target set was a full 1.26 runs per over more than the visitors had achieved the bowling restrictions of 12 overs per bowler are not adjusted in this format of the game. This meant whilst 136 off 25 overs is an achievable target it was not going to be an easy chase. With spin being the order of the day Hampshire were blessed in this area in the guise of local boy Brad Taylor and the Holybourne boy revelled in his opportunity. With the first over negotiated safely Taylor dismissed Hammond with his first delivery, a sharp turning ball taking Hammonds off stump. With only 3 overs of seam bowled by the visitors, Alton were left to pit their skills against the talented Hampshire spinners.

When Alton were reduced to 39 for 3 with the dismissal of Bowden (17) Taylor again his victor, Alton had to rebuild, Janmohamed joined skipper Myers and with the rate increasing they looked to keep Alton in touch. The push for quick runs saw the demise of Janmahomed (20) as he was run out. Hale soon followed and Alton were reduced to 81 for 5 still needing 55 for victory. With overs running out the Alton skipper produced a sparkling batting performance. Alton needing well over 10 runs an over Myers began to find his range and the boundary count increased. With 27 needed from 2 overs, Taylor who had bowled all the overs from one end, ended with figures of 3 for 47 off his 12 overs left Alton with an improbable 18 from 1 over.

Myers and Paul (14*) were not finished though and Myers leading from the front smashed the young Hampshire leg spinner Crane for consecutive boundaries leaving the Brewers requiring 5 runs for victory off the last ball. With Myers needing to clear the ropes Crane held his nerve and a magnificent innings from Myers 62* off 61 deliveries ended in despair as Alton fell heartbreakingly short.

St Cross Crushed

Alton bounced back with a thumping win over St Cross in the Southern Electric T20 on Sunday.

St Cross played some big shots early on, with William Walsh striking a fine 44. Jack Myers (3-26) did the damage in the middle order and Michael Salmon (3-8) helped remove the tail as the home side stuttered towards the end and finished on 159-9 from 20 overs.

Alton knew the chase could be tricky, but Ryan Hale blew the game apart as soon as he stepped to the crease.

He blasted a magnificent 90 from just 38 balls (his first 50 from just 19) as he smashed the ball to all parts of Winchester, endangering nearby spectators, cars and livestock.

Ryan Hale smashes another maximum at St Cross

Ryan Hale smashes another maximum at St Cross

Scott Myers (34*) lent able support, and after Hale fell just short of a blistering century (after striking nine 6’s and six 4’s), Michael Heffernan saw the Brewers over the line.

Their reward is a home tie against Sarisbury on Sunday 29th June.

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Seconds continue form at Waterlooville

Alton 2nd XI continued their fine form with a hard-fought win at Waterlooville.

Asked to bat first on a damp surface from overnight rain, Alton were dogged early on, but soon fell to 43-4 as the ball nipped around, with Sam Hillman (3-15) being the pick of the economical home bowlers.

Mark Heffernan continued his fine form as he batted patiently and worked the ball around. He was joined by Mike Salmon who mixed attack and defence well, as the pair put on 68.

A break for rain interrupted Alton’s flow as Salmon was dismissed for 39, but useful late order runs from Jack Austin (16) and youngster Daniel Trim (13) – including one superbly struck six – saw Alton close on a useful 188.

Alton’s bowlers knew that patience was to be the key in creating chances, and they did that early on as Alex Hughes struck first.

James Scutt looked dangerous before Lee Partner’s off spin accounted for him, as one kept low.

Warren Ekstraal looked to be positive, but when he was smartly caught by Heffernan off Michael Salmon (2-30) Alton started to take advantage.

Partner (3-29) struck twice more, and a fine run out from Austin helped reduce Waterlooville to 131-7.

The patient Indy Chakrabarti had looked to be the key wicket, and when he was finally removed by Hughes (2-32) Alton wrapped up the game with Tom Paul (2-32) claiming the final two wickets.

Third XI fall to IBM Hursley

Alton 3rd XI travelled to IBM Hursley, who batted first with Sakthivel (41) and Hood (39) both contributing well after being held in check for sometime by the Alton opening bowlers. Adrian Trim (4 for 36) once again proved very economical, as did Andy Tapp (10 overs for 26 runs). Unfortunately apart from some good bowling by Ali Jenner (1 for 37), the other bowlers were put to the sword – Hursley final reaching 219.

But worst was to come for Alton when they faced the Hursley opening bowlers Rides (2 for 14) and Thomas (4 for 38). Rides took both inform Alton batsmen Hughes and Mason very cheaply and apart from very good batting by Jenner (25) and Ball (25*), Alton had a poor day being bowled out for 123.