Alton win to seal highest ever finish, 2s spoil Tichbourne’s party, 3s Promoted
Alton delayed by traffic arrived at Lymington in somewhat of a rush but with the opportunity of their highest ever finish were keen to start well. Seeking another good all round performance, Alton lost the toss and found themselves batting on a surface that due to the midweek rain would offer assistance to the bowlers.
Despite losing the toss and arguably having the worst of the conditions Alton produced one of their best batting performances of the season, setting up a convincing 68 run win. With results elsewhere favouring the Brewers a third place finish was achieved.
Heffernan and Hale started well for the visitors. With the ball moving around they remained patient, taking advantage of any loose deliveries on offer. Hale past 50 but they were denied the 100 partnership when Heffernan departed holing out for 42. At 99 for 1 Alton were well placed.
Phillips joined Hale and the scoreboard continued to tick along. With spin appearing to slow the rate Hale tried to take the arial route only to find the man and was caught at long on for a well made 62. Skipper Myers was then run out and the Brewers found themselves 134 for 3. Bowden then fell to the same fate as both openers finding the man on the boundary as Alton moved to 161 for 4 with 13 overs to go.
With the consistent Phillips at the crease Alton were still confident of posting a good total, support from both Janmohamed (14) and Heywood (11) saw the score move past 200 and Phillips past 50. When Phillips was finally removed for a well-made 63 Alton were nearing the maximum batting points target of 225. A late flurry of wickets saw Alton end on 232 for 9 a total they would have taken if offered at the start of the day.
The home sides chase got off to the worst possible start when Australian academy player Mortimer was removed first ball of the innings. A fantastic delivery from Kiwi Bowden (1 for 24) beat the young Australian batsmen’s defences knocking back his middle stump.
Lymington continued to be aggressive and moved to 40 before the Brewers made their send breakthrough, Alton’s own Mortimer (1 for 40) removing Scott for 18, a fine edge was easily taken by the Alton keeper Janmohamed. Skipper Myers then produced a game changing spell of bowling picking up 3 quick wickets and the home side fell to 73 for 5.
With the dangerous Cowley still at the crease Alton could not rest. However Alton had saved the best until last, a short ball from Myers saw Cowley (29) pull what he thought was over mid-wicket only for Joe Paul to pull off a spectacular catch, diving high to his right, the ball nestling in his fingertips. Alton jubilant and Scott Myers returning fine figures of 4 for 29. At 87 for 6, Alton were in the ascendancy.
Knowing maximum points could give Alton a third place finish, the Brewers were keen to take the final 4 wickets. Phillips (1 for 13) and Myers (1 for 35) shared a wicket a piece and Lymington fell to 128 for 8. Lower order runs frustrated the Brewers but the experienced Ballinger (2 for 21) sealed a fine performance picking up the last 2 wickets. Heywood taking the final catch at mid-off and a fantastic second half to the season was complete with Lymington all out for 164.
Mid July saw Alton at the foot of the table but 5 wins out of the last 7 games saw them claim their highest finish in their history.
Seconds end season with success, Thirds go up
Alton 2nd XI finished the season on a high by beating already promoted Tichbourne in the local derby on Saturday by a narrow 2 wicket margin.
Tichbourne were asked to bat first on a surface damp from midweek rain, but got off to a fast start with Martin Cheyney (23) and George Ayling (18) going at five an over.
Alex Hughes (2-32) removed Ayling and Lee Partner (2-26) struck to remove Cheyney and get Alton into the game. Further wickets fell to Tom Paul (3-41) plus youngsters Dan Scott (2-29) and Robbie Pitts-Mellan (1-30) as Tichborne stumbled to 67-5.
Australian Jake Roach shored up the middle order as he worked the spin attack around the ground, in contrast to the attacking Paul Primmer. However, when both fell just short of their half centuries, Alton cleaned up the tail to leave a chase of 162 to win.
With the slow pitch and outfield, the task was not going to be straightforward, and the early loss of Howard Gadsby put Alton on the back foot.
Alex Hammond and Jack Penn got the innings going, and Mark Heffernan continued his fine form when Hammond (16) was removed.
Both Penn and Heffernan fell in their forties, while Jon Dow (22) contributed usefully, but it was left to the lower order to eke out the remaining runs, as Alton nearly stumbled before the line with three quick wickets and the overs running out.
Skipper Hughes and Pitts-Mellan saw the side home with a single from the penultimate delivery, ending the 2nd XI’s season on a high.
*Alton’s 3rd XI gained promotion in a tight end to the season. They beat visiting Wherwell thanks to a fine all-round performance from Ironman Tim Parker, who scored 46 in Alton’s 196-9 before taking 5 wickets to dismiss the visitors for 146.