County player Gareth Berg top scores on debut to lead Lymington home against Alton
Southern Premier League Premier Division
Alton CC I 225-5
Lymington CC I 228-6
FORMER Hampshire all-rounder and current Northants player Gareth Berg top-scored for Lymington on his Southern Premier League debut as the south coast side defeated Alton at Jubilee Fields.
The four-wicket win is Lymington's second consecutive league victory after breaking a four-game losing streak.
The 40-year-old, who lives in Hythe and has featured in seven county championship games for Northants this season, hit 69 runs off 52 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
Lymington captain Matt Metcalfe won the toss and elected to field on a slow pitch. While taking only five Alton wickets, the bowlers – coupled with lively fielding – kept the score tight, restricting the opposition to 225-5 in their 50 overs.
Alton got off to a slow but steady start and reached 53-2 in the 16th over, led by youngster Abhay Gonella (28). Alton then threatened to take the game away from Lymington as current Hampshire professional Fletcha Middleton (82) and captain Daniel Harris (64) put on 116 runs for the third wicket.
However, once Daniel was out in the 42nd over, Lymington restricted Alton to a gettable total. Matt Metcalfe (2-29 in 10 overs) found his groove, while the other wicket-takers were Josh Proctor (1-42), who also got a run-out, and Ximus du Plooy (1-51).
Lymington opener Dan Cox (16) got his side off to a solid start while Ryan Scott (37) was again in improved form as together they put on 36 runs for the second wicket.
South African overseas all-rounder Du Plooy (50) returned to form a patient knock as he added 40 runs with Scott for the third wicket. But it was the arrival of fellow South African Gareth Berg, with an attacking knock that included 40 in runs in boundaries, that almost saw Lymington home.
Together, Berg and du Plooy put on 102 runs for the fourth wicket in only 15.4 overs. Then, however, Lymington's season-long tradition of staging a mini-batting collapse followed as three wickets fell for only nine runs to give Alton hope when all seemed lost.
With the nerves jangling, Henry Edwards (18 not out) and stand-in wicketkeeper Liam McCurdy (6 not out) steadied the ship to see Lymington home with five overs to spare.
Bash Walters (2-43) worked up a lively pace, with Scott Myers (2-39) the other leading Alton wicket-taker.
Lymington CC return to the Lymington Sports Ground on Saturday against Hampshire Academy.