Alton moved to the top of the Southern Premier League Division 1 ladder on Saturday as they defeated Sparsholt by 61 runs, while Sarisbury Athletic fell to a surprise defeat to New Milton.

The results leave the Brewers just one point ahead of their promotion rivals with two weeks to play.

Alton won the toss and elected to bat on a good-looking pitch with short square boundaries at the picturesque Norman Edwards Ground, but they initially found scoring hard to come by against some accurate bowling.

Dan Harris and Abhay Gonella started to get into their stride, and had nearly brought up a half-century stand before Harris (20) misjudged the length of an Ollie Williams delivery.

Howard Gadsby also found scoring initially tough before becoming more fluent, and added another 20 before chipping Williams to mid off with the score on 76.

Gonella was looking well set and was joined by captain Scott Myers who immediately stamped his authority on the innings.

Finding gaps was made easier by the curious fact Sparsholt had only ten men in their line-up, but Gonella and Myers were in unforgiving mood as they regularly found the boundary.

Gonella went for a well-made 71, but Myers continued – with support from the in-form Freddie Egleston – as he took the score past 200.

Myers brought up another league century from just 69 balls, but fell immediately after to leave Ryan Hale (22 off ten) and Basheer Walters (nine off five) to work with Egleston (59 not out) to take Alton to a commanding 317 from their 50 overs.

Sparsholt’s reply started in the worst possible fashion as they lost Josh May first ball to a Zack Gadsby inswinger, but Josh Williams joined brother Ollie and the pair looked to be positive in response.

Ollie Williams had reached 24 when youngster Nathan Vincent was introduced with his left-arm orthodox spin, and he struck immediately to claim his first senior XI wicket with a caught and bowled.

He then claimed two more to finish with three for 36 from seven overs in a lovely spell of bowling as the home side’s middle order folded, while Joshua Williams held firm at the other end.

Toby Salmon was bowling a hostile spell and also claimed two wickets as Sparsholt slipped to 91 for six, also including a fortunate moment as Vincent dropped a caught-and-bowled chance but the deflection fell on to the stumps and ran out experienced Jeremy Frith at the non-striker’s end.

Williams was still attacking at the other end and he advanced towards a fine century with some strong hitting down the ground.

He was supported by Thomas Ley (30) and last man Greg Whiting (35 not out) and he brought up the second ton of the day, as Alton were made to work hard for the final wickets.

Salmon (three for 43) finally removed Williams for a fantastic 121 leaving Alton with a 61-run win and the barest of margins at the top of the table.

The Brewers host Liphook & Ripsley on Saturday (12.30pm) at Jubilee Cricket Ground.