South Wilts suffered a second ‘white ball’ defeat in four 50-over pennant matches when Alton successfully chased down 252-4 to win by six wickets with two overs to spare at the Jubilee Ground.

The result was a serious setback to South Wilts’ prospects of featuring in the ECB Southern Premier Division leadership race at Saturday’s start of the conventional ‘time’ matches which begin at Lymington on Saturday, 11am.

Alton, who have often been South Wilts’ bogey opponents in the past, celebrated their best yet SPL run chase, underpinned by a remarkably patient 65 not out by teenage opener Abhay Gonella and fuelled by a run-a-ball 61 from the in-form Scott Myers.

After Tom Morton had fallen to the impressive Ben Mortimer, South Wilts based their innings on Owain Phillips (41) and a solid half-century by William Wade (50).

But their eventual 252-4 owed much to late call up Joe Cranch, who hit two sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 78, and Arthur Godsal, who hit a punchy 47 not out in the lead-up to tea.

So, how did the respective captains view the situation at the half-way point ?

South Wilts skipper James Hibberd: “We thought 250 was an ok score, but knew we had to bowl well and we didn’t!

“This sums up our first few weeks of this season. We haven’t got the ball in the right areas often enough to create any pressure. They played positively and deserved to win.”

Alton’s Scott Myers, who went on to play a key innings, reflected: “We bowled superbly for two-thirds of the innings.

“If you had offered me 250 at the start I would have taken it, but after 40 overs I was hoping for 225/230, but they had wickets in hand and we didn’t bowl well in the last ten.

“We thought the score was par and that we would need to bat well to get it.”

Alton put their faith in Abhay Gonella at the top of the innings – and the recent Hampshire Under-17 selection did everything the Brewers’ asked of him.

The Guildford Royal Grammar School sixth former, who joined Alton from Sunbury two seasons ago,

batted the entire length of the reply, hitting only one of the 133 balls he faced to the boundary – but his unbeaten 65 won the match.

“He did exactly what we asked him to do. His job is to bat the whole innings while the rest of us bat around him,” Myers said.

“There was plenty of chat aimed at him about the pace of his innings but nothing phased him.”

Gonella enjoyed a series of fine partnerships, initially with Michael Heffernan (23) and run-a-ball Dan Harris (41) before South African Marco Marias (17) chipped in.

But it was the youngster’s near-century partnership with Myers (61) that turned the game firmly in Alton’s direction.

The pair added 97 to take the Brewers to an impressive six-wicket win.