CHARLIE Esson dropped a 101-run hint to the selectors with his maiden century in South Wilts colours – but his hundred wasn’t enough to secure a win for the Bemerton second string from a high scoring visit to Alton.

South Wilts posted a decent 279-6, but their Alton counterparts chased the target down to win by two wickets with four balls to spare.

Esson, who joined South Wilts from St Cross Symondians two weeks ago, arrived at the Jubilee Ground crease with South Wilts already prospering at 70-1 after a bright opening by William Wade (23) and Sam Pittman (56).

Adding a further 72 with Rob Pittman (35), Esson piloted South Wilts on to 279-6, celebrating his century just before tea.

South Wilts’ prospects of defending the total took an untimely blow when Steve Warner pulled up lame after only four overs.

Alton cashed in, with openers Jason Penn (79) and Howard Gadsby (50) making a 130-run start, which Alex Hammond (23) improved upon.

Mark Heffernan’s 64 proved the crucial knock, the Alton skipper scoring his runs during a key fourth-wicket stand with Joe Paul (23).

Heffernan was among the five batsmen to fall as Pittman (3-41) and Tom Pearce made late inroads into the Alton innings.

South Wilts visit Fair Oak on Saturday (1pm).