CRICKET: 'It's been our finest hour'
Potterne’s players start the celebrations after claiming the final Lechlade wicket to secure the title and promotion (Pictures by Johnathan Rose)
POTTERNE chairman Fred Kerley is still on his way back down from cloud nine after his side secured a fairy tale promotion into the second tier of the West of England Premier League last weekend.
The village club clinched the Glos/Wilts Division crown by beating rivals Lechlade in a title showdown on Saturday and the champagne has been flowing at the Grove as the villagers look forward to competing at the highest level in their history next summer.
Long-serving chairman Kerley hailed it as his club’s finest-ever moment and paid tribute to young captain Neil Clark, who led his side to the title in his first season at the helm.
“I’ve been at the club pretty much all of my life. I started off changing the scoreboard when I was six but this was the biggest day I can ever remember at Potterne,” said Kerley.
“I can remember when we started off at a low level but in that time, we’ve moved up the leagues and gone past big teams like Westbury, Trowbridge and Swindon.
“Now there’s only Corsham and Goatacre who are the other sides playing in the Premier Divisions.
“It’s a fairy tale really. The celebrations were quite heavy and I think they’ll carry on until we have our presentation evening at the end of the month.
“We made quite a bold move in making Neil our captain because he was so inexperienced but he’s performed admirably and I’m really pleased for him.”
Meanwhile, Clark toasted a dream first season as Potterne skipper.
Captain Clark, 22, reckons the villagers have what it takes to be competitive when they make their first-ever foray into the second tier of the Wadworth 6X West of England Premier League next summer and thanked his teammates for their title-winning efforts this summer.
“We’ve had quite an immature and inexperienced side this year and it has been like looking after a bunch of babies at times but I couldn’t have done it without them – they’ve all been fantastic,” said Clark.
“Fred (Kerley) and Graham (Gaiger), who are the chairman and the vice-chairman, have been fantastic all season and have given me the help that I needed.
“On Friday, they booked for us to go to Bath Spa to take our minds off the game and then we all met up for a team breakfast on Saturday morning.
“Everyone was up for the match even though I had to have a cortisone injection in my shoulder because I injured it playing in the Wiltshire Wallop (T20 competition a week earlier).
“We got a great score and when we bowled them out, then the crowd came running on to the pitch.
“The chairman said that we’d all have a night out on him if we won the league so everyone is looking forward to that now.
“I still don’t think it will all sink in until we’re playing Premier Two cricket next year but I think that we’re good enough to hold our own in that league.”
Despite losing openers Luke De Souza and Tom Cullen for 22 apiece, Sahan Wijeranthe swung the pendulum the hosts’ way with a storming knock of 101.
The visitors’ Luke Sellers took three wickets but Ollie Smith chipped in with an unbeaten 55 as Potterne posted 294-6.
Lechlade’s first four wickets fell for 66 runs as Josh De Souza and Dylan Higgins claimed 3-20 and 3-56 respectively.
Asanka Vithanage (50), Ross Jeffels (38) and Arran Dickinson (37) offered up resistance for the visitors but Potterne claimed the title by dismissing their opponents for 232 in the 44th over.
Chippenham ended their season in winning fashion with a seven-wicket triumph over local rivals Biddestone.
Lee Ward’s hosts won the toss and put Niel Bredenkamp’s side in to bat first, with Trevor Lloyd the pick of the bowlers with 4-38.
Andy Flynn (75) and Bredenkamp (50) did their best to put runs on the board but Biddestone were skittled for 189 after 45 overs.
Tom Young spearheaded Chippenham’s run chase with an unbeaten knock of 92, with support coming from Ward (35) and Geoff Prudhoe (34) as the home side reached 193-3 early in the 43rd over.
FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport
Comments are closed on this article.