Batsmen show their class as Alton cruise to win against Ventnor

Saturday 11th June 2022 4:00 pm
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Scott Myers. Picture by Mark Heffernan @heffers31
Scott Myers. Picture by Mark Heffernan @heffers31 (Tindle )

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Alton romped to a convincing Division 1 victory over Ventnor last Saturday (June 4), winning by seven wickets with 17 overs to spare.

After the disappointment of last week, Alton were happy to return to home comforts when they faced the early league leaders.

Michael Salmon returned to first-team action in place of the absent Toby Salmon as Michael Heffernan came back into the middle order.

Alton also handed a debut to Huw Wheeler, the former Hampshire Academy prospect making his first appearance for the Brewers.

Captain Scott Myers won the toss and took the opportunity to bowl first. Despite the overnight rain, the surface was hard and true so Alton knew they would need to bowl well.

Bash Walters and Arul Appavoo took the new ball and got Alton off to the perfect start, as Walters found the edge of Namish Verma as Daniel Harris took a good low catch to his right at first slip.

Two for one was soon eight for two, Appavoo this time finding the edge of Rob Snell’s bat, Walters with a sharp catch at third slip.

This brought together Ventnor’s in-form Martin Blackman and Sri Lankan Dineth Thimodya, both with league hundreds already to their name, who set about repairing the early damage.

The pair moved the visitors past 50 before Michael Salmon had Blackman caught at slip for 17, the bowler finding the edge and as the ball looped up off Mark Heffernan’s gloves, Myers made no mistake to reduce Ventnor to 52 for three.

Salmon continued to probe away, using his full array of deliveries before a beauty to Ben Attrill clipped the top of off stump as Ventnor slipped to 70 for four.

Attrill made seven but Thimodya remained unbeaten on 34, Salmon taking two for 37 off his ten overs.

A 51-run partnership between Dineth Thimodya and Ross Whyte brought the visitors back into the game as Thimodya made a composed half century.

Whyte looked to be aggressive but when he was trapped in front to give captain Myers his first wicket for 31, Ventnor were 121 for 5.

Alton were happy to give Thimodya one and bowl at the other end. The run rate was kept in check as Sam Mills and Thimodya added 50 for the sixth wicket.

Ventnor moved the score to 171 before the returning Appavoo picked up Mills for 23 and Ben Woodhouse without scoring, both trapped in front.

Myers then got his second as the visitors slumped to 174 for eight, Appavoo taking three for 28 off his ten overs.

Thimodya remained on 78 but with overs and partners running out, Ventnor’s key man needed to increase the rate.

With his own milestone in sight Thimodya went on the attack, and a flurry of late boundaries dented Myers’ figures as he ended with two for 50.

Thimodya moved the visitors past 200 before, with just two balls remaining, he completed a fine innings, making 100 off 110 balls which included five fours and five sixes.

Despite batting for almost the whole innings in what was a fantastic composed innings, Alton were happy they had restricted the number of deliveries the Sri Lankan had faced.

Ventnor posted a respectable 210 but on a surface that looked good for batting and with the outfield drying out, Alton knew if they batted well it was definitely an achievable target.

Abhay Gonella and Harris went about giving Alton a good start. Gonella took a back seat as he watched Harris go on the attack.

Harris latched on to anything over-pitched as he dispatched Snell and Wells to the fence, the former having to be removed from the attack because of injury.

A brief respite for the bowlers came in the shape of a shower and, unfortunately for Gonella, who had made eight, the very first ball after the rain break he was strangled down the leg side, skipper Woodhouse completing the catch off Mew to leave Alton 44 for one.

The loss of a wicket did not change Harris’ game plan as his onslaught continued, reaching his 50 in the 11th over, off just 29 balls including 11 fours.

Wheeler, on his debut, settled into his business well as the pair added 50 for the second wicket. Alton moved to three figures in the 16th over before Wheeler mistimed a short ball and was caught for 22.

Alton were still in control at 105 for two and Harris continued to take the attack to the visitors.

But with his century in sight, he was bowled when he missed with his pull shot off a short ball from the off spin of Thimodya, bringing an end to a wonderful exhibition of timing and boundary hitting.

Harris struck 15 fours in his 60-ball stay as he made fantastic 80, putting Alton in a strong position at 135 for three.

With so many overs remaining Alton did not need to take any risks.

Michael Heffernan joined Myers and the pair ensured Alton did not fluff their lines as they added the required 76 in quick time, the skipper completing his first league half century of the season, ending on 59 not out off 61 balls including nine fours.

Heffernan struck the winning runs as he ended on 28 not out off 25 balls.

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