SARISBURY ATHLETIC opened their first-ever Southern Electric Premier League premier division campaign with a hard-fought tie against Alton at Hursley Park on Saturday.
Having secured promotion from division one last season, Athletic were keen to start the new campain strongly against Alton, who finished third in the top flight in 2014.
It was nice to get a tie, we could have lost it but we could, and probably should, have won itDavid Banks
The match had to be moved from Allotment Road to Hursley Park after a mistake by contractors left Sarisbury’s home ground unplayable.
Athletic batted first and started strongly with Ricky Rawlins (51) and Ryan Burl (44) impressing before a middle-order collapse put their position in peril.
Jack Lovett, batting at eight, made 41 not out, while brother Joe notched 13 as Sarisbury rallied to a total of 230.
In response, Alex Hammond and Michael Heffernan’s opening partnership of 50 put Alton into a strong position as they began the run chase.
Sarisbury were made to rue dropping Scott Myers without scoring as he went on to rack up 85 off 120 balls, finally departing to the bowling of Ryan Covey, with the visitors perched on 200 for six and the game in the balance.
The game was seen out as a tie, with neither side able to clinch victory in the final overs.
Sarisbury captain David Banks believes his side made a strong start to life in the premier division but could have claimed the victory.
‘It was an exciting game,’ he said.
‘We’re disappointed but also relieved to get the tie.
‘Batting-wise we had a really good start, lost a flurry of quick wickets but got a decent score of 230.
‘It wasn’t our best performance but a tie was a fair result.
‘We had our chances and if we’d taken them we’d have won the game comfortably.
‘When you give players chances in the lower leagues you’ll probably get another one but we gave Scott Myers a chance and we didn’t get another one and he scored 85.
‘Everyone is still getting in the groove. It was nice to get a tie, we could have lost it but we could, and probably should, have won it.’
Banks’ men will face Hampshire Academy this Saturday and the skipper is confident his side can secure a first victory if they perform on the day.
He said: ‘We know what levels we have to be at and where we need to be at.
‘On our day we will give anyone a game, we just need to put it together.
‘Going into next week, I’m always confident but we need to be on the ball.
‘There are no easy games in this league.’
Elsewhere, Havant overcame Ventnor, beating the Isle of Wight side’s total of 126 all out in 33.2 overs for the loss of three wickets.
Pete Hopson (42) and Richard Hindley (28) top scored.
Burridge slipped to defeat in their season-opener at home to Bashley.
Their total of 184 for eight – including 62 from Derek Kenway – was not enough to deny the visitors, who overhauled the target with five balls remaining.
Bashley had captain Richard Morris to thank as he struck an unbeaten 91 off just 85 deliveries to fire his side to victory.