Not you again! Walker piles more agony on Alton as Havant romp to Southern Premier League victory

Ben Walker struck his 11th Southern Premier League century for Havant as they romped to victory against rock bottom Alton.

Sunday, 6th June 2021, 1:43 pm
Ben Walker's 101 against Alton was his eighth SPL top flight century for Havant - and his third against Alton. Picture: Keith Woodland

The opening batsman hit 12 fours in his 123-ball innings of 101 as the hosts posted 260-6 off their 50 overs at Havant Park.

Of Walker’s 11 centuries, eight have been scored for the 1st XI in the top flight of the SPL - and this was his third against Alton.

In 2016, he compiled 156 and 125 against them - the two highest scores of his prolific Havant career, where his first century had been scored against Bournemouth in 2008.

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In his latest hundred, Walker shared in stands of 94 and 68 for the first and fourth wickets with Peter Hopson (44) and Harry Gadd (37).

Walker, who returned to Havant from Bashley over the winter, was the star of the show; his running between the wickets was, as always, terrific and he combined this with some fine boundaries all the way round the ground.

Bash Walters, who was due to be Havant’s overseas player for the 2020 season prior to the pandemic wrapping its tentacles around the worldwide sporting calendar, was in the Alton XI and took 1-39.

Jude Wright (2-27) was Alton’s best bowler after home skipper Chris Morgan had won the toss and elected to bat.

In reply, Alton's innings never got going. They lost their skipper Daniel Harris (8) to a beauty from opening bowler Richard Jerry in the third over.

Jerry (2-56) also picked up the wicket of dangerman Fletcha Middleton, the former Hampshire U17 and Academy regular, for a 26-ball 25.

This left Havant’s three-pronged spin attack to bowl at Alton’s middle order.

Richard Hindley, Freddie Gadd and Morgan all bowled well with Hindley being the standout performer with figures of 3-16 off 10 overs.

Wicket-keeper Mark Heffernan top scored at No 7 with an unbeaten 38 but Alton were bowled out for 144

Alton were bowled out for 144 in the 37th over to lose by 116 runs and give Havant their second victory in three top flight games.

St Cross remain top of the table despite suffering their first loss of the season in a remarkable encounter against South Wilts.

Replying to Wilts’ 203 all out, St Cross looked on course for a heavy defeat when they nosedived to 68-6 despite a top order containing ex-Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams, Harry Came - a regular in the county’s Bob Willis Trophy XI last summer - and current Ageas Bowl pro Brad Taylor.

And it looked all over bar the shouting when last man Matt Haworth walked out to join skipper Ed Ellis with St Cross a sorry 84-9.

Yet, amazingly, South Wilts only ended up 12-run winners after Ellis (62 not out) and Haworth had put on 107 for the last home wicket.

Haworth hit seven fours in his 55 before he was finally out stumped by Ben Draper off the bowling of Jack Mynott.

Matt Burton claimed a career best 6-45 for Wilts including the scalps of openers Tom Foyle and Michael Haworth (0) as well as Taylor (6) and Adams (4).

Tom Friend hit an unbeaten 101 off 88 balls as Bashley moved up to third place with a 137-run thrashing of Hook.

Batting at No 5, Friend hit the second SPL century of his career - the first was exactly 100 against Burridge two years ago - as Bashley posted a daunting 294-7.

Hook lost opener Sam Lockwood to his first ball in reply and were bowled out for 157.