Alton sealed their place in the Southern Premier Cricket League Twenty20 Cup final with a comfortable eight-wicket victory against Old Tauntonians & Romsey at the Jubilee Ground on Sunday.
Skipper Scott Myers won the toss and elected to field first in the semi-final.
In Bash Walters’ farewell match he made the breakthrough to leave the visitors on 23 for one. One wicket then became two as the economical Dan Scott bowled Joseph Vaughan for a duck.
Charlie King made 38 before Toby Salmon bowled him as the visitors moved past 50 inside the ninth over.
Alton’s chase started watchfully as Peruzi and the off-spin of Rhys Wathen started well, and when Wathen trapped Ruffell leg before wicket sweeping for two Alton were three for one.
Jude Wright strode to the crease to join Harris – this time in the blue of Alton rather than the Hampshire Academy colours he wore on the same ground the day before.
Wright and Harris calmed any nerves as the pair both struck superb half-centuries.
The pair added 97 before Harris was out for a powerful 61 off 40 balls which included seven fours and two sixes.
Alton were in touching distance, and there were no late dramas as Myers and Wright eased the Brewers home by eight wickets in the 17th over.
Wright made a fine 61 not out off 43 balls – which included five fours and a six – to finish off the match in style.
Skipper Myers finished on 15 not out as Alton progressed to the final.
Alton fell to a 76-run defeat at home to Hampshire Academy in the Southern Premier Cricket League Premier Division last Saturday (August 19).
Alton were looking to continue where they left off last week – when they beat defending champions St Cross Symondians – as they faced another thought test against a Hampshire Academy boasting two of their own.
A much-changed Alton side – because of unavailability – took to the field after Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat first.
Bash Walters was playing in his final league game for the club this season as he has to return to South Africa earlier than originally planned.
It was Tom Andrews, however, who made the early breakthrough as Tom Cheater fell for one as Tom Varney completed the catch with the score on just three.
Walters made an early impact as he trapped the talented Wilf La Fontaine Jackson in front for 15 as the visitors fell to 21 for two.
Alton chipped away as Varney and Scott Myers traded wickets as Hampshire moved to 76 for four.
Ben Mayes and Andrew MacEwen added what proved to be a pivotal partnership of 74 for the fifth wicket before Varney had MacEwen caught behind for 34. Dan Sumner then removed Mayes leg before wicket for a patient 47 to leave Hampshire on 158 for six.
A run out by Mark Heffernan reduced the visitors to 163 for seven before Sumner mopped up the tail as Hampshire were bowled out in the last over for 176.
Sumner finished with figures of four for 26.
Alton’s chase faltered early on when Oliver Cordery bowled Freddie Egleston without scoring. When Ryan Hale was bowled by Alton’s own Zac Gadsby – playing for the Academy – the home side were in trouble at one for two.
Myers and Sam Ruffell tried to rebuild, with the latter looking in good touch, but when Myers fell for four to Gadsby Alton were 37 for three.
Cordery then got his second when Ruffell, who had scored a brisk 20 off just 17 balls, was caught by Jude Wright – Alton’s second player representing the Academy. Alton were in big trouble at 41 for four.
Alton could not find the partnership to get them back in the game as wickets continued to tumble. Gadsby, who had helped Alton to the Division One title last year, ended with four for 41. Fellow Alton player Jude Wright picked up three for 34.
Andrews made 16 and Sumner ended on 17 not out, but it was a poor day at the office for the Brewers as they were bundled out for just 100.
The fight for survival goes on today (Saturday), when Alton will travel to relegation candidates Lymington.