Three out of three for the 4s
The mighty 4s knew that with only 3 of the 10 sides safe from relegation, due to a league restructure at the end of the 2017 season, a strong start was needed.
In game 1 verses Headley Alton elected to field on the drying Binstead track. Straight bowling and some excellent fielding reduced Headley to the Nelson score of 111 off 35. Ellis Ballinger (8-0-36-2) got two early wickets, after assisting Jon Porter with the run out of Ray the Headley opener. Porter himself then got a wicket – caught neatly by Ali Wright before the home team started to rebuild. Gemma Porter (8-0-18-1) then made the break through trapping Cornwall lbw, opening up the tail for the accurate bowling of Martin Ball (8-3-12-3) to rip through the middle order. The final wicket was taken by the occasional bowler Bramah Snr. with Headley on 111, all out with 5 overs to spare. The run chase got off to a wobbly start with Green (11), Heffernan (5), Wright (2) and Bramah Snr (0) dismissed in the first 11 overs and the score on 20-4. Cue the steady hand of Crook 43* and Wills 20 who put on a half century to settle the away teams nerves and bring them back into the game. Bramah Jnr survived a close lbw shout before hitting a sublime 24* to see the townsmen home inside 31 overs.
With availability at a record high for game 2 the 4 team selected to play at the JCG opener was full of talent and this embarrassment of riches almost caused an embarrassment on the pitch after the townsmen were asked to bat. After losing Green Jnr first ball of the game the 4s completely dominated, scoring heavily throughout. After 38 overs the Alton skipper caused a halt to proceedings declaring with the score on 311/3; Heffernan (96), Crook (14), Pearce (31*) were the warm up acts supporting a fantastic knock by Evans (121*). The win was a formality with all the main Alton bowlers bowling well – Carpenter (7.4-4-26-4) the pick of the bunch.
Game 3 was a battle between two unbeaten sides at the lovely venue of Lurgershall. The home team Grayswood won the toss and invited Alton to bat first. This was one of those days when everything went to plan for the townsmen. Green Snr (61) hit out from the start and put on a century opening stand with Bramah Snr (28) in 23 overs – all the more impressive when Grayswood bowler Fisher-Pratt only went for 3 runs from his excellent 8 over spell of left arm bowling. The openers fell in successive overs (both exhausted) which proved to be the curtain raiser for the main event. Sebi Bramah, after being dropped second ball, hit an amazing, unbeaten 106 (ten 4s and nine 6s) some huge maximums for the watching crowd in the Noaa’s Ark pub! Jon Wills almost made his maiden half century but holed out on the penultimate ball for 49 with the townsmen on 280/3.
Grayswood were not giving up their unbeaten status lightly and set about their chase with gusto. Grundy Jnr (7) was looking to get going before holing out to an amazing catch from Crook off Ballinger. Skipper Nittur (26) followed in the next over falling to two U14 debutants (ct. Amelia Marshall bwl. Ethan Streek). The quality of the quintet of U14 bowlers was truly the difference between the sides. Marshall (8-1-36-0), Ballinger (8-0-41-1), Fuller (6-0-41-1), Streek (8-1-37-1) and Bridger (6-0-25-4) stole the show. The highlight was two stumpings in consecutive balls effectively securing the win by the combination of Bridger / Wills! When the opposition are fretting about how many overs an U14 can bowl you know you have them on the back foot. There was a little mini game played out with Grayswood picking up the 2 losing bonus points for reaching 210 (75% of the target) in the final over but there was no doubt that the spoils (all of the spoils) came home to Alton.
Played 3 – Won 3. Maximum Points!