The writing was on the wall early for Altona in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association east-west group grand final at Gordon Barnard Reserve at the weekend.

The A’s suffered a top-order batting collapse and could generate only 113 in 69.4 overs – nowhere near enough for their bowlers to defend.

It was all single figure scores for Altona’s top five batsmen.

Only some gritty middle-to-lower order batting saw the A’s avoid getting bowled out for less than 100.

Sean Hollins (12), Adam Brown (18) and Mitchell Cullen (16) tried to get the A’s to a respectable score, but they had been left with too much to do.

Balwyn’s bowling card was perfection, with Lachlan Fitzpatrick leading the way with a miserly 3-22 off 19.4 overs.

It was tough going for the batsmen, so Altona was never going to wave the white flag – no matter how dire the situation.

In Shannon Clarke and David Kinsella, the A’s had two in-form bowlers ready to rip in. Both were impressive again, with Clarke taking 1-28 off 22 overs and Kinsella 2-40 off 14.5.

Stefan Sidari kept it tight with 0-15 off 12, while Hollins was the other multiple wicket taker with 2-12 off five.

Had Altona had another 50 runs to defend, it might have gone down to the wire.

But a slow and steady Balwyn managed the run chase to perfection, winning by five wickets and leaving the A’s to ponder what might have been.