Lymington v Alton – Alton escape with a tie
Alton travelled to the new forest to face Lymington looking to get their season up and running. On what looked like dry surface Scott Myers won the toss and elected to bat first.
Alton started poorly and did not adapt to what was a difficult surface to bat on. The ever consistent Matt Metcalfe took full advantage of Alton’s poor shot selection as he bowled a fantastic spell picking up four wickets in his ten over spell for the cost of just 9 runs. Hugo Hammond was first to go as he was trapped in front for 4, Heffernan followed soon afterwards and Alton were in trouble at 7 for 2. Things got worse for the Brewers as Harris played on for 2 and when Marias was bowled for 11 Metcalfe had four and Alton were reeling at 31 for 4.
Mark Heffernan joined skipper Myers as they looked to rebuild. Once they successfully saw off Metcalfe they began to build what was a vital 64 run partnership. However just as Alton were gaining the initiative a mix up saw Heffernan run out for a patient 26 and Alton were 95 for 5.
With the pitch going up and down Alton knew anything over 150 would keep them in the game. Alton stumbled though as both Paul and Mortimer were dismissed cheaply and Alton were precariously placed at 104 for 7. With the support of the lower order skipper Myers expertly guided Alton to a competitive total. Salmon dug in but when he was bowled by Proctor for 1 Alton were 120 for 8. Myers reached his 50 as he and Ballinger put on a crucial 32 run partnership for the 9th wicket. Myers was now taking a few risks and when one shot too many brought the end to what was a fantastic innings in testing circumstances. Myers made had made 71 off 98 balls lifting Alton past 150. Ballinger and Bochereau added vital runs as Alton finished on 168 all out, Ballinger the last to go as he was bowled for 13.
Despite the pitch Alton knew they would need to start well. Mortimer did not disappoint a sharp catch by Joe Paul at short cover saw the home side 9 for 1. It was soon two, this time Toby Salmon getting his man, Dominic Hand playing on for 5 the home side now wobbling at 13 for 2.
Ryan Scott was looking in fine form as he looked to keep the scoreboard moving. Lymington recovered to 56 before a three wicket blast from off spinner Ballinger saw Lymington slip to 68 for 5. Alton knew the wicket of Scott would be key but Lymington again took the initiative away from the visitors. Scott passed 50 as Alton were left searching for a wicket, the returning Mortimer delivered picking up Whyte for 15 Lymington had recovered to 112 for 6.
A fantastic direct hit run out from Marais saw the back of Moors without scoring Lymington now 127 for 7. With Scott still at the crease and joined by Metcalfe the game was still in the balance. Scott and Metcalfe then began to take the game away with three wickets in hand and only requiring six to win Scott gave his first real chance. Toby Salmon bowled a low full toss which Scott miscued to Mortimer as his fantastic innings of 95 came to an end.
Lymington edged closer and with three to win seeking to gain an advantage and after being warned Proctor was run out backing up, Lymington now 166 for 9. Heffernan then bowled 2 wides tying the game up but managed to get through the remaining deliveries which saw the home sides number 11 facing skipper Myers with one required. Three deliveries outside off stump was followed by a straight delivery trapping Willis in front, the umpire raised his finger as the Brewers escape with a tie.
Alton CC 2nd XI vs United Services Portsmouth
You would be forgiven for thinking after the disappointment of last week’s weather ruining the chances of Alton’s first win, some minds would need to be focussed. Alton started on the front foot and never let the pressure up on United Services Portsmouth to very quickly dismiss any such thoughts.
Ball and Salmon as always starting tight and accurate to make life very difficult to score runs for the openers with only a 5th over wicket the only victim to fall in the first 15. A very pleasing trait of Alton’s game at the moment is patience and this was paramount again with few chances, that it took three special catches to claim the first three wickets.
Tom Green took a diving one handed catch at cover to remove the first opener. Michael Salmon at short cover stuck out a huge hand to take a travelling ball from the very dangerous US Portsmouth captain, and when opening bowler Steve Ball strategically placed at slip took a catch diving millimetres from the ground, Alton sensed their chance had come.
Patrick Sampson kept on the pressure replacing Ball and Ian Carpenter yet again bowling very maturely and economically from the Road End, US Portsmouth reached 89-4 off the first 30 overs. Despite some varied bowling from the skipper, he managed to produce the off spinners dream delivery to bowl the last of the top order through the gate.
Alton now into the lower order just needed to ensure they remained patient and professional. Something delivered emphatically with Carpenter and Salmon, 3-24 off the formers 10 overs, the pick of the figures. Despite a couple of simple dropped catches Alton left the field very pleased with their efforts, restricting US Portsmouth to 150 all out.
Due to a couple of top order batsmen missing this week, there were small changes to the Alton batting line-up. Green fell early but Pearce looked in impressive form with 25 off 19 balls before succumbing to a short ball which he was too early one and the keeper gladly took the catch.
Partner batting at 3 and Salmon batting at 4, the pair knew they had a lot of overs to bat and if they occupied for the bulk, Alton would near closer and closer. Patience yet again was key and the pair batted brilliantly and with composure for a 92 run partnership. Salmon beginning to find his striking power before chopping on for a well deserved 50.
Some intelligent batting from young Hampshire cricketer Jude Wright, using the pace to guide runs through the vacant third man area, Alton comfortably got over the line in the 45th over.
Alton achieving a determined and thoroughly deserved victory to collect 22 out of 24 points to get the first win officially under the belt. Bishops Waltham await next week and Alton will be looking to achieve the same level of determination and commitment to win their second game of the season.
Shalford 2nd XI v Alton 4th XI
Brewers ease to victory against Shalford
In a fixture that has been rain affected for the past few seasons it was great to see the weather set fair for the Brewer’s outing to Shalford via the Parrot. Skipper Martin Green won the toss, and with a renewed confidence in the top order, decided to bat first. Green and his opening partner Gemma Porter once again saw off the openers (in the case of Harding this was literal – as he fell foul of the new ECB laws on full pitch deliveries after only 11 balls). Surviving is one thing but scoring is another and Green (20) played one shot too many, just before drinks trying to press on. Once again though the platform had been set and this time it was Mark Bramah who capitalised and made a swift 48 with Porter under orders to rotate the strike and doing so highly effectively. The departure of Bramah (snr) was quickly followed by Rob Crook, failing to make an impact for the first time this season, and debutant Ollie Billington who was unluckily caught at Mid Off. With the shackles off at that point Porter then looked to accelerate and in the 36th over converted her great start into a well-earned half-century. That left the closers Jon Wills and Ryan Van der Linde, ably supported by Lewis Jones to see the innings out – Alton posting an impressive 192/6.
With the team knowing that the game was probably done an extended tea was enjoyed by the Alton players before the metronomic duo of Adrian Trim and Jon Porter measured out their runs and began bowling their dots (and more dots!). They finished their spells with a combined fabulous 15-8-19-5, an absolute demonstration of limited overs bowling! The spin of Sam Crook gave the Shalford batters a slight reprise for 1 over, but once he sorted his line out he also showed his promise and what the team can expect in the future, especially impressive as he bowled most of his spell to the dangerous Shalford skipper Torrey. The final 5 wickets fell to the imposing South African, Van der Linde, as he blasted the tail away (4-2-15-5). Torrey was the final wicket to fall after providing the only real resistance to the Alton attack. He eventually fell for 43, an impressive percentage of his team’s score of 56.