Bath gain revenge to stretch their lead over Clevedon

PUBLISHED: 10:53 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:53 19 July 2017

Marc Lezar.

Marc Lezar.

Archant

In a top of the table clash, Bath emerged the winners against hosts Clevedon, running out winners by five wickets.

Clevedon 114

Bath 115-5

Piers McBride snr from Dial Hill

Well this match, heralded by me as the being the clash of the Titans, turned out to be little more than a damp squib covered by a wet blanket.

In gathering and drizzly gloom, in front of a large gathering, Clevedon found themselves on the wrong end of the toss when play eventually got underway two hours late and it was no great surprise when they were invited to bat first in a match reduced to 37 overs per side.

For the first four overs, a sizeable total appeared inevitable as Marc Lezar tucked into opening bowler Paul Muchall in no uncertain terms. Three imperious cover drives sped to the boundary in the first over and two more exquisite strokes resulted in further fours as Marc raced to 24 from just 18 deliveries at the top of the order.

That though was as good as it got as Clevedon stumbled from 30 without loss after just four overs to 35-3 and once the Bath attack detected weakness they exploited the situation in clinical fashion.

Three more wickets tumbled in rapid succession as Bath tightened the noose and although a smidgeon of defiance came from Andy Solomons, 27 from 24 balls, there was no way back.

For once the lower order were unable to retrieve the situation and it was almost a merciful release when the final wicket fell on 114 after just 26 overs.

To be honest, which I always strive to be, the visiting bowlers took full advantage of the conditions and apart for the early gbh inflicted by the ebullient Lezar, they took no prisoners. Adam Kelly (3-24), Paul Muchall (2-30) and Thomas Hankins (4-26), proved just too good on the day,

No fewer than 18 extras enabled Clevedon to at least set a three digit target, but with eight batsmen failing to reach double figures there was an air of gloom abroad on the Dial Hill balcony as Jacob Lintott led his men out after tea.

Studied frowns suddenly transformed into broad smiles as Andrew Solomons (3-32) and Matthew Carpenter (1-26), reduced the visitors to 53-5 and now it was the turn of Bath to man the lifeboats.

Unfortunately for Clevedon, all-rounder Paul Muchall (36 not out) and keeper Luke Padgett (32 not out), nudged and nurdled their way to victory with an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 65 and in so doing they served to extend the team’s lead at the head of the league table.

It was this partnership which proved the difference between the sides. You would have thought Clevedon should have been able to knuckle down and utilise the full 37 overs, but to be honest full credit must be afforded to the visiting bowlers, they utilised the conditions perfectly.

No disgrace for Clevedon of course, but strike rates are not always the be all and end all, there are certainly occasions when it is necessary to bat with due care and attention if only to use up the allocation of a particularly dangerous bowler.

Sweet revenge then for Bath who fell victims to Clevedon earlier in the season, but there was little to choose between the sides who were neck-and-neck all the way until Muchall and Padgett joined forces over the final furlong.

This Saturday the road show travels to Corsham, who currently languish at the foot of the table.

League standings, all played 11: Bath, 207 pts; Clevedon 175; Downend 140; Bridgwater 137; Potterne 139; Bristol 129; Lechlade 127; Bedminster 125; Frocester 120; Corsham 104.


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