Alton legend Ballinger says his farewells at awards night

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Terry Hehir (left) and Julian Ballinger won the Keith Gillingham award

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DESPITE the season ending in relegation for Alton’s first team, the club still got together to celebrate the 2021 season in style.

The season was one with highs and lows but will ultimately be remembered for its goodbyes. The club all came together at the Alton House Hotel to celebrate all the senior teams successes and top performances. A host of winners were celebrated in what was a fantastic evening.

The final award of the evening is awarded not for on field exploits but for overall contribution to the club, named after the late Keith Gillingham who gave so much to the club. With two club stalwarts moving on the award was presented to both Julian Ballinger and Terry Hehir.

Terry, a former player and umpire, has decided to hang up his umpires coat.

Julian and his son Ellis had played their final games at Jubilee the previous weekend in an emotional day. Julian, the current chairman and former first team captain, also picked up the Players’ Player award and Bowler of the Year award.

After 28 seasons the Alton and Southern Premier Cricket League record wicket taker is moving back to his native South Wales with his family.

A true club great and someone who will be hugely missed.

There were plenty of other award winners on the night.

The ladies’ softball team’s Player of the Year award was won by Jane Fuller.

The women’s team had three awards. Nicola Gadsby was named Player of the Year, Amelia Marshall won the batting award and Gemma Porter won the bowling award.

Sam Cook was named fourth team Player of the year, and Andy Tapp won the third team Player of the Year award.

Gemma Porter won the second team Player of the Year award, and Abhay Gonella was named first team Player of the Year award.

The club Batter of the Year award was won by Dan Harris, and the Young Player of the Year was Freddie Egleston.

The club will look to bounce back next year as they attempt to return to club cricket’s top flight. Winter nets will begin in the new year with all new players welcome.

On the previous weekend Alton celebrated their annual president’s day. In a difficult year for everyone, Alton had lost two long-standing members – Chris Burchett and Tim Yates had both sadly passed away. To commemorate them the club commissioned a new Burchett-Yates trophy for the winning president’s side.

Three teams competed in a round robin Hundred ball format. The Gillingham XI made up of former Alton players took on two sides made up of current Alton players, the Burchett XI and the Yates XI.

In the first game the Yates XI beat the Gillingham XI by one run. The Burchett XI then chased down an imposing 144 set by the former Brewers to set up a winner takes all match between the two club sides.

The final went down to the final ball, with the Burchett XI requiring two runs to win. They could only muster a single as the match ended as a tie and the trophy was shared.

Celebrations went on into the evening with live music.

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