Brewers fightback seals double over St Cross
The penultimate weekend of the season and Alton’s final home game saw them face local opponents St Cross. With only one win at home all season Alton were looking to end on a high at Jubilee.
Alton won the toss and elected to bat hoping to post a total that would be difficult to chase down on a slow Jubilee wicket. An innings of starts but no major contributions was the order of the day with the Alton batsmen getting in and then finding a ways of getting out. Hale started well scoring a run a ball 35 before chipping the ball to short mid-wicket off the bowling of Finney (1 for 29). Phillips fell shortly afterwards and from a relatively positive start Alton found themselves precariously placed at 61 for 3.
Scott Myers (24) and Dewayne Bowden (28) both got starts but failed to take it on and when Heywood was dismissed Alton were 127 for 6 and in need of a partnership.
Young Jack Myers joined the Alton keeper Abeed Janmohamed as they looked to repair the damage and move Alton up to a defendable total. They both batted patiently and kept chipping away at the St Cross attack.
The partnership moved beyond 50 and with Alton looking to press on before Janmohamed picked out the man on the boundary for a well-made 41. With his partner gone Myers (21) fell immediately and Alton were reduced to 181 for 8 and in danger of falling short of 200.
Some late blows from Mortimer (19) took Alton passed 200 but Alton failed to bat out their overs and were dismissed for 202 with still 4 overs to face.
Knowing they had probably underscored the Brewers were keen to make early inroads, but it was the visitors who made an early dent into the Alton total. The St Cross openers appeared to be comfortable but without ever getting away from the home side and the required rate remained around 4 runs per over.
Alton finally made the breakthrough as Matt Drakely was bowled by Ballinger for 40 but St Corss were in a strong position at 85 for 1. One brought two for the Brewers as Ballinger, returning miserly figures of 2 for 19 off his 10 overs picked up his second and St Cross were 92 for 2.
With both spinners on and the St Cross skipper joining Young at the crease this was to be a pivotal time in the game. Myers and Ballinger bowled superbly giving the visitors nothing to get away. With the required rate now increasing St Cross had to try and up the tempo, this brought about the demise of Young who was dismissed by Jack Myers well ct by Hale for 53.
Walsh followed soon after with a smart stumping from Janmohamed, again off the bowling of Jack Myers (2 for 35) which left St Cross 129 for 4.
With the spinners bowled out Alton had to go back to seam but Phillips (1 for 25) and skipper Scott Myers (3 for 40) were more than up to the challenge. Wickets continued to tumble as St Cross had no option other than to try and up their scoring rate. 147 for 5 was soon 158 for 8 as Alton closed in on the victory.
A superb bowling & fielding display saw the Brewers fight back to take the spoils with St Cross ending on 175 for 9 and Alton signing off at home in style.
Alton will travel to Lymington on Saturday for their final league game of the season.
Seconds suffer at Portsmouth & Southsea
Alton 2nd XI turned in a poor performance against relegation threatened Portsmouth & Southsea on Saturday to halt their recent run of good form.
Batting first, Alton got off to a positive start with Alex Hammond (13) and Howard Gadsby striking early boundaries. Jon Dow (15) was removed by a short ball from the left-arm seamer Jonathan Willey, when then also accounted for Gadsby (37) and Dave Evans.
Mark Heffernan looked to rebuild the innings but was undone by the flight of Kieron Dunsan, who then claimed Lee Partner (16) and Dan Trim.
Alex Hughes (16) and Toby Salmon (10) chipped away, but Alton were dismissed for a well below par 147.
The Brewers needed early wickets in the reply and Alex Hughes (1-36) struck instantly. Toby Salmon also struck in a pacy spell, but runs were leaking through the fast outfield.
Tom Paul (3-21) caused a middle-order wobble, helped by some injudicious strokeplay, but Matthew Benfield (41) and Alex Fletcher (33*) took P&S from a sketchy 85-5 towards victory, with Robbie Petts-Mellan (1-18) claiming a consolation as the Brewers fell to defeat by 4 wickets.
*Alton’s 3rd and 4th XIs both kept their promotion hopes alive with wins as the leagues move towards their climax.