Match reports – week 1, 2016

1st XI – Alton V Havant

Alton opened their 2016 British Gas Southern Premier League campaign off with the tough visit of last years runners up Havant.

On a sun baked Jubilee Playing fields Alton lost the toss and Havant had no hesitation in batting first on what looked to be a fantastic surface.

Alton were hoping to make early in roads into Havant’s top order, Mortimer (1 for 38) led the Alton attack and his extra height and bounce caused some concerns for the Havant openers. The extra bounce leading to the demise of Peter Hopson who in his attempts to stop the ball going back onto his stumps only succeeded in hitting it into his leg stump and was bowled for 3 and Havant were 15 for 1.

With Alton’s opening bowlers finding it difficult to find their lines extras were proving the main source of Havant’s runs. Alton spin duo Ballinger (3 for 63) and Jack Myers (1 for 55) were added to the attack to try and gain some control and when both picked up a wicket a piece Havant were reduced to 79 for 3.

Stone joined the Havant skipper Walker at the crease and the former looked to relinquish control back from the home side. A short but influential innings saw Stone hit 7 boundaries in a 26 ball visit. When he was removed by Scott Myers for 36 caught safely by Alton’s new Australian import Hutton, Havant had moved onto 129 for 4.

With the game still in the balance Walker found a more measured partner in the experienced Richard Hindley. The two senior men took control of the game and put on 136 for the 5th wicket. Alton unable to take any of their half chances were made to pay as Walker passed moved onto to make a fine 100.

When Walker was eventually removed for 125, Havant had moved to 265 for 5. Hindley moved onto his 50 off the last ball of the innings and Alton were left chasing a mammoth 289 for victory.

Despite Alton being made to toil in the field due to the nature of the surface Alton still fancied there chances of causing an upset. Alton welcomed Daniel Hutton as their new overseas player for the 2016 season. The talented left handed batsman opened up with Alton England PD batsman Alex Hammond.

The promisingly named opening partnership of Hutton and Hammond unfortunately did not pay off as Hammond was removed off his first ball and Alton were immediately up against it at 4-1. Hutton was looking at home in English conditions as he struck 3 boundaries before Havant skipper Walker found the edge and Hutton was caught behind for 12. 21 for 2 was then 48 for 3 as skipper Myers was removed for 4.

When the younger Myers was then bowled for 22 Alton were struggling at 66 for 4. Mark Heffernan joined his elder brother at the crease and Alton tried to find a foothold in the game. The pair looked to rebuild and put on 64 for the 5th wicket before Michael Heffernan was dismissed by Hindley for 36.

Mark Heffernan moved onto his 50 but when he held out for a well made 54 Alton were 163 for 6. Janmohamed (39*) looked to get Alton as close as possible but regular wickets fell as Alton stumbled to 202 all out.

Alton will look to bounce back next week as they travel to Burridge.

2nd XI – Bishops Waltham v Alton 2nds

After a disappointing campaign in 2015 Alton 2 XI started their new campaign in Hampshire County One against Bishops Waltham whom were recently promoted to this tier. On a hot and humid afternoon Alton lost the toss and were ask to field in the batting friendly conditions.

Stephen Ball (3-8) and Michael Salmon (0-26) begun the task with some tight bowling with Ball claiming the first two wickets after a sharp catch by Daniel Trim in the field. After an early change, Bishop Waltham struggled with the spin after some inspired bowling from Lee Partner (5-34) taking a wicket with his first delivery. After this Partner worked his way through the middle order aided with some superb fielding restricting the home team. Only a rear guard action from old Alton-ian Robbie Pitts-Mellan stopped the score being much worse than the eventual 109.

Alton begun the chase positively with 12 off the first over with Andrew Postles (31) looking to take the attack to the bowlers. Ryan Hale (20) also looked in good nick as Alton looked to press on. After a couple of quick wickets Richard Anthony (29 no) and Lawrence Hughes (8 no) saw Alton home for a loss of 3 wickets to secure the win, and a great start to the new season.

3rd XI – Alton v Whitchurch

Alton’s third eleven fell agonisingly two runs short as they attempted to chase down Whitchurch’s 209 for 3. With the visitors electing to bat first Alton had early success reducing Whitchurch to 88 for 3 but visitors took control and posted a challenging total. Experienced spinner Sampson ending with figures of 1 for 27 off his ten overs. Alton chase stumbled as Billington fell early, but Gadsby steadied the ship making a fine 84 with young Thomas Green making 24. With Alton just behind the rate Carpenter found his touch taking one over for 20 and bringing all results back into contention. Freeman made a patient 40* but it was unfortunately not quite enough as Alton ended on 208 for 7.