Spectators were treated to a nail-biting finish as Alton’s 4th XI squeezed past Chiddingfold’s 2nd XI in the I’Anson League Division 5.

Alton were put in to bat. They lost opener Cam Rhodes for 13 but Ollie Billington and Alex Freeman batted aggressively, scoring at more than four an over. Billington swept and cut while Freeman was powerful down the ground and often lofted shots over the fielders.

Billington was caught at slip off Jones for 39 off 57 balls after building a partnership of 76 with Freeman. Freeman continued to score but lacked support, as eight wickets fell for 30 - including Alex Housley, spectacularly caught and bowled by Nick Harman.

Freeman was finally dismissed for 64, including eight fours, off 84 deliveries, as spinners Harman and Jones tore through Alton.

Last pair Josh Bogue and Alex Stratford dug deep and dragged the score to 139 off 39.5 overs. Jones took four for 35 from nine overs.

Chiddingfold started slowly as youngster Ollie Lynn took two wickets, sharp catches from Stratford and Porter dismissing Simon Schollar (one) and Glenn Kinchington (seven) in an accurate opening spell. Josh Bogue’s pace and swing beat the outside edge multiple times. 

John Porter removed Billy Duddell, who holed out to Housley at mid on for six to leave Chiddingfold 17 for three.

Patient batting from Harry Toombs (18) and Tom Spicer (24) produced a partnership of 41, broken by another caught and bowled from leg spinner Jamie Craig. Toombs then skied a catch off Stratford to Rhodes and Chiddingfold were 66 for five.

Justin Cansfield and Nick Harman helped Chiddingfold recover again, with Harman in particular attacking Alton. But skipper Nathan Vincent dismissed the injured Cansfield, who had a runner, for 11.

Vincent’s clever mix of left arm off breaks and quicker balls outfoxed Chiddingfold but Harman went straight down the ground, hitting six fours on his way to 38 from 34 deliveries and dramatically improving their run rate.

The unbeaten Dan Harder gave good support but Vincent dismissed Harman in the 26th over, knocking back middle stump. Chris Howell (one) was adjudged lbw to a Vincent full toss and 15 were required off two overs with two wickets remaining.

Lynn came back in the 39th over and had number ten Jones caught at mid off for five, leaving 15 needed off ten balls.

The next three balls went for two runs but Lynn’s last delivery was nicked for four by wicketkeeper Harder. Nine were needed off the final over.

Vincent conceded just two off the first four balls but a costly misfield left Chiddingfold requiring four from the last delivery. Foulds (six) played a powerful stroke back over the bowler but Jamie Craig dived to take the winning catch.

Alton erupted in celebration, along with their onlooking 2nd XI, as the pent-up tension of a close game was released. Vincent (four for 30) and Lynn (three for 17) were the pick of the Alton bowlers as they triumphed in a tight finish.