CRICKET: Chippenham come through test of nerve
CHIPPENHAM captain Lee Ward was pleased his side managed to hold their nerve against the elements and pick up a vital victory in the Glos/Wilts Division last weekend.
Ward’s men, who currently sit in the bottom two, had to endure multiple stoppages and a match reduced all the way to 25 overs by the wet weather but managed to notch up a four-wicket win at Westbury, who are now just nine points ahead of Chippenham in eighth place.
Ward paid tribute to an important win for his team and is hoping that last Saturday’s result can help lift Chippenham away from the relegation zone.
“We were really happy to get the win and if we can carry on approaching games in that way, then we should be able to get to where we think we should be in the table,” said the Chippenham skipper.
“Westbury are a good side with strong players and I think they probably think they should be higher than they are too.
“We knew it was going to be an on/off game but we really wanted to make sure that we got it in and we’re glad that we did because we came so close to the point where it would have had to be abandoned.”
Tom Cullen and Ben Whiting both hit 33 for Westbury, who were put in to bat first by Chippenham, with George Reed taking 2-22 as the home side posted 124-7.
Ward’s side lost their first two wickets for just five runs but Arran Merryweather (30) helped steady the ship, with Chippenham eventually reaching 125-6 in the 23rd over.
Elsewhere, Niel Bredenkamp had weighed in with a knock of 73 as Biddestone stood at 162-6 against Chipping Sodbury but Jamie Mitchell’s men were denied the chance to go for a win as the clash was abandoned after 37 overs.
Corsham skipper Pete Dennett was delighted that his side refused to take their foot off the gas against Bristol last weekend as they notched up a hat-trick of Premier One wins.
Fresh from victories over reigning champions Bath and fellow giants Frocester in their last two outings, the Station Road men made it three from three as they triumphed by 35 runs at Bristol.
“I can’t remember a time at Corsham where we’ve won three Premier Division games in a row, so it’s a good achievement,” said Dennett.
“We had a few conversations before the game about the fact that the wins against Bath and Frocester wouldn’t mean anything if we didn’t beat Bristol. We wanted to prove that they weren’t a fluke and I think we did that.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve brought some intensity to the way that we prepare for games and I think that it’s helped us.
“Our target is to get into the top four and we’ve got more of a chance of doing that now – if we beat Bridgwater this weekend, it’ll be an interesting league table.”
Wiltshire captain Mike Coles top-scored for Corsham, who were put in to bat first, with a knock of 72 whilst Ashur Morrison also chipped in with 68 as the visitors posted 230-6 after a rain-reduced 46 overs.
Tom Foley and Paul Robbins then both took two wickets apiece to hamper Bristol’s run chase, with the home side falling short as they could only make 195-9.
Brad Dawson lamented Goatacre’s shambolic batting display after his side were comprehensively beaten by Cheltenham in Premier Two.
The hosts capitulated in bizarre fashion at Goatacre Lane, with nine players caught out, including six in the inner ring of fielders, as they limped to 148 all out in 25 overs.
Dawson was dismayed by his side’s downfall, particularly given the spectacular early platform they were given by opener Jack Haines, who spanked a barely believable 48 from 16 balls to help Goatacre to 63-1 inside four overs.
Dawson said: “It was ridiculous.
“We were 50-0 off three overs and Jack was 40-odd. He does what he normally does and gets out in the 40s.
“Ed (Wilkins) and Joe Tillyer were the only genuine wickets, they nicked off behind, and the rest of us were all caught. Six of us were caught in the ring and that’s pretty bad considering we were bowled out in 25 overs.
“It’s pretty embarrassing really.
“I spoke to their lads after the game and they said they couldn’t believe it. Both teams were absolutely atrocious in the first innings. They bowled awfully and we batted even worse.”
After opener Haines was dismissed, Giorgio Rigali (19) grabbed Goatacre’s next-highest total, with Cheltenham’s Liam Walker ending the afternoon with figures of 4-34.
Sam Didcote, Matt Jennings and Harry Arthur all also claimed two wickets apiece as the hosts crumbled.
At one stage, Dawson’s men threatened to spark a comeback as they had their opponents at 39-3 but a measured 57 from Stephen Kelly and knocks of 24 from Stuart Houghton and Jennings saw Cheltenham home to 151-5 midway through the 30th over.
Elsewhere, Potterne’s trip to Thornbury was rained off.
Marlborough captain Tom Norris reckons a spot of good fortune has launched his side back into the mix-up at the top of the Wiltshire Division.
Norris’s men not only bounced back from their disappointing defeat at the hands of Nationwide House with victory over title-chasers Marshfield last weekend but also saw league leaders Great Bedwyn suffer an abandonment and third-placed Burbage & Easton Royal slip to a crushing defeat at Purton.
The Marlborough skipper thinks his team’s chances of improving on last season’s third-placed finish have been handed a boost and was particularly impressed with the villagers’ bowling display.
“Everything went for us last weekend – getting near the top of the table wasn’t looking so likely but now we’ve got much more of a chance,” said Norris.
“Last week, we were beaten by the better team and deserved to lose. But the guys have gone away, worked hard in training, and come back looking like different players.
“Our bowling was brilliant. We only had one leg bye and one wide and if you compare that to Marshfield’s extras (41), that proves how good it was.
“At the start of the season, we said that we wanted to try and improve on our third-placed finish last year. It’s all about clichés though and I keep telling the boys not to get carried away.”
Nick Crabbe starred with a knock of 85 for Marlborough, who posted a hearty 230-7 from their reduced 47 overs before Ben Head (3-27) and George Fox (3-29) turned the screw on Marshfield.
Dave Jenkins (47 not out) and Russell Lodge (42) did their best to hit back but the visitors were skittled for 143 in the 39th over.
Leaders Great Bedwyn had racked up 169-4 before their game at Trowbridge was abandoned just three overs into their hosts’ innings whilst Burbage & Easton Royal went down by eight wickets at Purton.
Adam Lavis (24) and Sourish Mukherjhee (13) were the only Burbage batsmen to reach double figures as they were all out for just 84 midway through the 29th over before Aakarshit Gomel (59) eased the home side to 85-2 in little over 13 overs.
Meanwhile, Devizes have slipped to the bottom of the table after suffering a nine-wicket humbling at the hands of Calne.
Glen Robinson (4-22) and Julian Kearney (3-33) did the damage as Joe Wookey’s men were skittled for 117 early in the 34th over before Thomas Richards (50 not out) and Jordan Butler (47) helped Dan Knight’s Calne side to 118-1 and their third win of the season midway through the 21st over.
Potterne's unbeaten Glos/Wilts 2nd XI campaign rolled on last weekend as the villagers cruised past county rivals Trowbridge at the Grove.
The home side bowled first after winning the toss and Jamie Hayes (4-18) and Josh Hodder (4-16) put Trowbridge through the wringer, with the visitors’ Craig Brennan (39) unable to prevent his side being skittled for 111 early in the 26th over.
Paul Clark (43 not out), Jordan Rose (33) and Jamie Hayes (24 not out) then helped Potterne ease to 114-1 and their seventh win of the season in less than 14 overs.
Rahul Dyani took 3-30 as Marlborough won at Chippenham by seven wickets, with the hosts posting 151-9 before Marlborough reached 90-3 in 18 overs after being set a rain-reduced target of 88 from 25 overs.
Will Wales hit 71 as Corsham remained in the hunt in the Premier One 2nd XI division with an 83-run victory at home to Bristol.
Bristol’s Mike Wilmott took 4-34 but Corsham put a healthy 234-7 on the board, thanks to Wales’ knock and 47 from Tom Shaw.
The home side’s bowling attack then piled the pressure on visitors Bristol, who fell well short as they were dismissed for 151 midway through the 30th over.
Goatacre moved top of the Premier Two 2nd XI thanks to a 34-run win at Cheltenham.
Stephen Baker (44), Alan Griffin (38) and Chris Chapman (31) put runs on the board for the villagers but three wickets from Owen Morris and Ben Ashmore saw Goatacre skittled for 197 in the 36th over.
But 4-26 from Dan Wiseman put the brakes on Cheltenham, who were dismissed for 163 in the 35th over.
Marshfield are the new leaders of the Wiltshire Division 2nd XI after they took advantage of their rivals’ cancellations with a six-wicket win over Westbury.
Graham Tanner (3-28) and Oscar Vellacott (3-21) were both amongst the wickets as Westbury were put under the cosh and eventually dismissed for 178 in the 45th over.
Wayne Pascall then came to the fore and hit a dominant 107 to lead his side to 181-4 early in the 31st over.
Elsewhere, Marshfield’s title rivals Winsley lost by 15 runs at the hands of Nationwide House.
Matthew Hyde (53) helped Nationwide post 209-8 from a reduced 39 overs before Winsley fell short of their target as they were shackled to just 194-9.
MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD