SOUTH AFRICAN pace bowler Deen ‘Bash’ Walters has re-signed for Alton – even though the Brewers will be playing second-tier Southern Premier Division One cricket this summer, writes Mike Vimpany.

The 35-year-old took 36 wickets for Alton last season and has enjoyed a successful winter with Western Province and at club level with the Cape Town side, WPCC.

Walters has been playing provincial cricket in South Africa since 2007 and has taken more than 530 wickets in his career, more than 300 in four-day matches.

With Alton relegated, the Brewers were faced with a choice of either retaining Hampshire prospect Fletcha Middleton or re-signing Walters.

Scott Myers, who has taken the captain’s armband from Dan Harris, explained: “Fletcha wanted to stay and play for us, but unfortunately you cannot have an overseas player and contracted player in Division One.

“We chose the overseas player as the club needs them for the coaching of the colts and local schools programme.

“Bash put in a great stint with us in 2021, being extremely popular in the dressing room and doing a significant amount of work with the juniors.”

Harris remains with Alton, but Middleton has joined promoted Premier Division outfit Totton & Eling.

Long-serving off-spinner Julian Ballinger, who chalked up his 600th Premier League wicket last summer, has returned to live in his native South Wales and will play for Miskin Manor.

Talented teenage all-rounder Jude Wright will spend the summer with the Hampshire Academy.

Alton began outdoor practice last weekend ahead of pre-league friendly visits to Normandy (April 16), Farnham and then Basingstoke & North Hants.