Alton v Lymington – Ballinger’s 500th!
Alton went into Saturdays final league game with nothing to play for and with the forecast set for rain the game had a rather strange end of season feel to it. Despite this, one Brewer in particular was keen to get the ball In his hand. Julian Ballinger the long serving Alton off spinner went into the game on 499 Southern Premier Cricket League wickets and was looking to add one more to his 2016 tally of 36 to reach the landmark.
With rain set to come in the only real chance of victory was to bowl Lymington out cheaply and chase the target down. With that in mind Myers won the toss and bowled first. Ballinger was given the new ball but Lymington started well frustrating Ballinger and the home side, but he ended his first spell still sat on 499 wickets.
Lymington fell to 96 for 3 before Ballinger was brought back into the attack. With dark clouds circling, a fine delivery found the glove of Lymington batsman Dominic Hand as he looked to press forward. The ball went quickly to slip where Michael Heffernan completed a sharp low one handed catch to give Ballinger his 500th wicket in spectacular fashion – a
combination that has combined many times over the years.
Celebrations ensued as Ballinger had his 500th wicket since the SPCL was formed in 2000.
Lymington made it to 175 for 6 before the rain put an end to proceedings. No points were won but a memorable landmark was reached by Ballinger.
A competitive and proud Welshman Ballinger made his Alton debut back in 1994 as top order batsman, but since the formation of the SPCL he has applied his trade as an off spin bowler. His consistency has seen him high up in the league wicket taking tables year on year. A fantastic achievement and a role model for young cricketers.