Alton Cricket Club triumphed at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, winning the Greene King Southern Premier Cricket League T20 final against Bashley by 6 runs.
The final under lights at Hampshire’s iconic ground ebbed and flowed, but the Brewers held their nerve to triumph in a tense finale to take the title for the second time in three years.
Having lost the toss Alton started brightly with the bat,
Dan Harris launching the ball into the stands in a rapid fire 21 from 13 balls.
When he and Alex Hammond departed in quick succession with the score at 34-2, Alton were in need of a steadying hand.
Skipper Scott Myers and evergreen Michael Heffernan provided just that as they worked the ball around the large playing area. They also picked off any loose deliveries as they brought up their 50 partnership in even time.
Unscheduled rain as the lights took effect brought the players off twice in the middle of the Alton innings, but Myers and Heffernan kept their concentration on resumption and increased the rate.
Heffernan departed on 32 but Myers continued past his half century as Alton looked to build a dominant total.
However Myers departure for 51 from 46 balls brought a late flurry of wickets and Bashley back into the game, before Toby Salmon hit a couple of lusty blows in his quick-fire 12 to take Alton to an even-par score of 146 from 20 overs.
Bashley possess a strong top order, so a good start was crucial for the Brewers.
Dan Scott made the breakthrough, dismissing Tom Friend for just one, while Jack Myers’ leg spin provided a superbly accurate spell of 4 overs for just 19 runs.
Michael Porter anchored Bashley’s innings as he was joined by Ben Walker – so often Alton’s nemesis during the league season, and the pair kept up with the rate.
Alton were also left to rue missed chances in the field – although none could be considered straightforward with the ball like a bar of soap due to the damp outfield.
Michael Salmon provided the much needed breakthrough as he dismissed Walker for 22, and Tom Jaques followed soon after with a direct hit run out from Hammond at mid-off.
However, Porter was looking in command and found support from Tim Taylor as Bashley moved along at the required run-rate for 8 an over.
Xavier Bocherau’s introduction slowed the rate with his fine spell of controlled off-spin, while Toby Salmon plugged away despite some streaky outside edges.
With 12 needed from the last Michael Salmon over Porter heaved him towards the stands off the first ball. However, brother Toby showed great composure to position himself just inside the rope, catch the ball and throw it back in-field, while Bashley completed just one run.
Porter was then on strike with 10 off 4 balls required but the pressure finally told with Taylor being smartly run out by keeper Mark Heffernan for 22 as Porter hit the ball into his pad and ran.
A two meant it was 8 from 3 required, but Porter was now stranded at the non-striker’s end and perished to a Heffernan direct hit from behind the stumps as he attempted to run a bye off the penultimate ball. He had compiled a fine 77 from 67 balls, but it was to be in vain with an impossible 8 required off the last delivery.
Salmon then kept his nerve to deliver a legal delivery, and jubilant Alton were heading back to Jubilee with the trophy for the second time.
Porter was named man of the match for his stirling effort, but it was Alton’s all round performance which had won the day. A testament to the team effort was that all but one player in the Alton side has come through the youth ranks at the JCG, and the Brewers will hope that the progress continues over the coming years.