Alton rue missed opportunity, 2nds stun South Wilts
Alton travelled to league leaders South Wilts on Saturday. After recent improved performances the Brewers were confident of repeating their 2013 away victory over the Champions. Alton won the toss and chose to bowl first on what looked to be a good surface.
With sun shining the Champions looked to make a positive start, an early error in judgement and a fine piece of fielding by Will Phillips left the free scoring Morton (11) short of his ground and the home side 22 for 1. A gift Alton were grateful of and one they looked to take advantage of.
Mortimer who was getting some good bounce, bowled a short delivery to Able, the ball clattering up off the batsmen’s helmet. Ballinger made good ground to take a low catch. Alton thought they had their man but they were made to wait for their second wicket. With the nature of the surface Alton experimented with their field placings. Leg spinner Jack Myers was bowling with good control and an unorthordox leg side field brought about the brewers second wicket. A sharp leg slip catch from Scott Myers saw the end of Mynott for 25. Another wicket for Myers left South Wilts on 94 for 3.
Ballinger was brought into the attack just before lunch, a change that brought about immediate success, with the dangerous Hayward caught at slip by Myers for 28. Lunch the score had moved to 157 for 4.
Post lunch was dominated by spin, but it was the steady batting from Able that marshalled the home side past 200. Ballinger then picked up his second with the important wicket of Hibberd (19), in some what fortunate circumstances the ball found the bottom of the bat and fell gratefully into the Alton keepers hands. Able then passed 100 but was eventually removed by Myers who beat the opener to bowl him for 101.
With the score now 213 for 6 Alton looked to restrict the home side further. Myers was bowling well and with 2 more wickets the young leg spinner picked up his maiden premier league five wicket haul ending with fine figures of 5 for 60. With wickets falling Foley made a valuable run a ball 24 but with Ballinger (4 for 45) picking up the final 2 wickets the home side were left all out for 248 in just under 58 overs.
Alton pleased to restrict the home side had a minimum of 63 overs to chase down their target. With the score on 22 Heffernan (9) was ct behind off the bowling of Hibberd. Hale and Phillips patiently saw the visitors through to lunch without further loss.
After lunch Hale looking to take the initiative mis queued and was ct at Mid wicket for 39. With the score at 67 for 2 the in form Myers came to the crease and immediately looked to increase the rate. The score moved past 100 before one attacking shot too many from Myers (29) gave Franklin his second victim an inside edge finding its way onto the Alton skippers stumps.
Phillips was joined by Bowden and Alton looked to rebuild but when Phillips was removed 2 short of his half century Alton were reduced to 144 for 4, this was soon 152 for 5 when Bowden top edged a full toss straight up and was caught for 25.
The Alton batsmen all making starts but unable to find that telling contribution. With Janmohamed and Heywood at the crease Alton still required 96 runs for victory with 5 wickets in hand. Alton were cautious while they took stock of their position, but when Heywood departed for 7 and the score 181 for 6 it looked like Alton would be left to bat for the draw. A stand of 31 though between Janmohamed and Mortimer brought the target back into reach. All 3 results were still possible but when both Janmohamed (35) and Mortimer (16) were dismissed in quick succession by the returning Hibberd (4 for 21) Alton were left on 212 for 8 and their hopes of victory dashed.
It was left to Myers J and Ballinger to face the majority of the remaining 7 overs to salvage a draw. Myers was removed late on with Alton left with 2 overs to survive. Paul joined Ballinger and in a tense finish Ballinger calm under pressure ensured Alton would leave with a share of the spoils as they ended on 227 for 9..
Alton will feel they let an opportunity slip but will be pleased with the fight they showed and will look to take this on next week when they face another tough away trip to Bashley.
2nd XI Stun South Wilts
Alton 2nd XI pulled off a stunning win against visiting South Wilts on Saturday. Chasing an imposing 280 to win at the JCG, Alton reached their target in the last over with a fantastic run chase.
Things didn’t start that well for Alton, losing the toss on a warm day, as South Wilts got off to a comfortable start. William Wade and Sam Pittman played themselves in before advancing the score past the half-century.
Wade (27) was the first to fall to Lee Partner (1-38), before Pittman fell to fellow off-spinner Robbie Petts-Mellan (1-45).
Rob Pittman and Charlie Esson took up the scoring as they maneuvered the ball around the large outfield. Esson survived a chance to pass fifty, while Pittman (35) was removed after drinks by Dan Scott (1-60).
South continued to make Alton toil in the field, but Alex Hammond (2-58) struck a couple of timely blows to ensure the score didn’t get out of hand.
Esson completed an excellent century in the final over of the innings, and South Wilts were happiest with their 280.
Alton needed a good start with a long chase ahead, and they got it with a fine stand of 130 between Jack Penn and Howard Gadsby.
Penn struck the ball sweetly as he made a fine half-century, including a thumping drive which opening bowler Stephen Warner took fully on the shin, ruling him out of the attack.
Gadsby worked the ball around in more sedate style, but was first to be removed for exactly 50.
Penn fell soon after, but with Alton at 160, the middle order had twenty overs to make 120 to win.
Alex Hammond contributed a useful 23, but Mark Heffernan was the one who made the innings tick.
With the rate creeping up, he hit one George Plank over for 19 and got Alton into the box seat with the help of Joe Paul (25).
When Paul fell to Rob Pittman, and Michael Salmon soon followed, Alton started to wobble. Heffernan then followed for a fine 64, as Alton threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Skipper Alex Hughes then clipped the winning runs off his legs to the delight of his team-mates who had all contributed to a fine win against a good South Wilts side.