Two wins out of two for Alton Cricket Club’s women’s team

Sunday 12th June 2022 6:00 am

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Australian Renee Hough on her way to 22 Picture by Mark Heffernan @heffers31

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Alton got their Hampshire League Women’s Division 1 campaign off to the perfect start with victory over Hursley Park’s seconds.

The women’s team took pride of place on the main square at the Jubilee Cricket Ground.

The Brewers’ stand-in skipper Abi Green lost the toss but was quite content to field first, confident in the team’s ability to chase down any target.

Mel Vaggers and Jorja Wright opened the bowling and it wasn’t long before Vaggers made the breakthrough, clean bowling Anya Ahl for two.

Hursley fought back with Freya Cutler and Naomi Hillman-Bermejo building a 40- plus partnership.

That promising alliance was broken by Vaggers – but this time with an excellent throw to returnee Julia Moulton, who easily sent Cutler packing after an ambitious call for two.

The change bowlers then ripped through the heart of the Hursley batting line-up.

Green removed the dangerous Pippa Sproul and then accounted for skipper Nicole Beesley, both to excellent catches from Moulton behind the stumps.

Then Josie Morris took three quick wickets including the key one of Aussie Natalie Jonkers, with a sharp stumping from Moulton.

When Moulton took her fifth dismissal – another catch behind, this time Wright finding the edge of Hillman-Bermejo – the game looked done for Hursley Park.

But huge credit must go to Leah Cuttler and Ella Cruise Cotter who looked to rebuild and compiled a precious 38-run partnership.

A double bowling change of Amelia Marshall and Vaggers eventually closed out the innings with a wicket each, Hursley setting a modest target of 114.

In response, Nik Gadsby and Marshall took the game to the visitors and squeezed any hope of an unlikely victory away with a faultless opening stand of 83.

The game was effectively over before the first wicket fell, when Gadsby was caught by Cruise Cotter for 17.

What then followed was a typical minor collapse for the Brewers with Marshall being bowled by Grace Sansom, after celebrating her half-century, and Sara Heffernan, Catherine Bayliss and Green falling cheaply.

It was down to Alton’s Aussie Renee Hough to see the game home with youngster Wright to secure a first win of the season and 22 points.

The difference between the teams was undoubtedly the agility and intensity in the field shown by the whole of the Brewers team, with the defining moment the clean execution of the run-out of Cutler, breaking what was looking to be a dangerous partnership.

The side made it two wins from two as they then beat Aldershot.

Asked to bat first, Alton’s Amelia Marshall and Nic Gadsby set a solid base before Marshall looked to sneak a single when there probably wasn’t one and ran herself out in the process.

Gadsby, Renee Hough and Julia Moulton kept the rate between three and four, but great fielding from the visitors and a cautious approach from the Alton middle order meant the innings ticked along without ever firing on all cylinders.

Some brisk running from stand-in skipper Martha Bilsland ensured the Brewers posted a respectable 158 for six at tea, Moulton top scoring with a patient 36 off 70 balls.

Aldershot set about the chase in a calm and determined manner, picking off the occasional loose ball from the generally accurate Alton bowling attack of Bilsland, Josie Morris, Abi Green and Hough.

Just after drinks Ella Chandler started to take the game away from Alton, increasing the run rate to close to five an over.

Bilsland then decided to change things and threw the ball to Gadsby.

An interesting ten-ball over followed that consisted of no-balls and wides, but also a dream delivery that shot past the outside edge of the advancing Chandler to clean bowl her.

That proved to be the defining moment of the game as the celebrating Alton fielders ruthlessly took their chance, built on the momentum switch and proceeded to work out the rest of the Aldershot batters.

A run out each from Hough and Jorja Wright, wickets from Bilsland, Green, Wright and Marshall and excellent fielding from the whole team saw Aldershot lose eight wickets for 30 runs in the final 15 overs of the game, still 13 short of the target.

With rain in the air the game was in the balance until the final over, but with older and more experience heads all round the park, Alton were not going to let Aldershot back into the game and saw the game out.

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