GOATACRE sent out an early warning to the rest of their WEPL Premier Two Glos/Wilts rivals with a 109-run victory over Thornbury in the opening round of fixtures on Saturday.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first at their home ground, Goatacre’s opening pair of Jack Haines and Josef Breet put on 96 before Haines fell for 62.

Further half-centuries from wicketkeeper Jack Twine and all-rounder Ross Dixie sent Ed Wilkins’ team on to a mammoth 351-5 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Thornbury began steadily, but looked like the pressure of the run chase might be too much when 82-1 turned into 84-4 as Joe King began skittling through the visiting batsmen.

Daniel Lezar offered decent resistance in the form of 74 off 82 balls, but once he fell, Thornbury had fallen over a century of runs short of their target, all out for 242.

Captain Wilkins highlighted his side’s all-around contribution with the bat and was left feeling pleased with how his debutants started their Goatacre careers.

He said: “We’re very happy because, coming into the season and looking at how Thornbury did last year, I think they only missed out on promotion by a couple of points.

“It was always going to be a tough game, first game of the season, but I’m really happy with how we played.

“We batted really well. Eeveryone contributed and Joe Breet and Jack Haines got us off to a brilliant start and then Jack Twine, who was on debut, was superb.

“Then Ross Dixie and Jonathan Wilkins really drove it home at the end by putting on around 90 in the last six or seven overs.

“I’m really happy and to be that convincing in our opening game is a good start for us.”

Before Ross Dixie and Jonathan Wilkins came out to bat, Goatacre were on for an already competitive score of 300 from their 50 overs, but a short session of highlight-reel cricket from Dixie pushed the home side onto an almost unreachable 351.

Asking his number six to push on and score runs like that on a more consistent basis, Wilkins said: “Ross scored 60 not out off 24 balls – he absolutely smashed it around at the end.

“Ross has come in at number six, he’s played for us for a couple of years now and at times he hasn’t got the runs that we know he can.

“But he’s a really good player and showed his class on Saturday, so we’re really happy with the start he made.

“And for Joe (King) to come in on debut and take a five-for was brilliant to see.”

Elsewhere in the same division, Biddestone defended 205 all out to win by 29 runs against Frocester, Chippenham triumphed in similar circumstances, winning by 15 runs against Dumbleton and Corsham defended 180 to win by 17 runs away at Stroud.

Burbage beat Trowbridge by six wickets as they chased down the home side’s 168 in the 37th over with a six off the final ball of their innings.