Claverham hold their nerve to edge thrilling match
PUBLISHED: 14:13 28 June 2017
Claverham produced a thrilling finale to the game against Bishopston, the last pairing scoring six runs to win the match.
It is far too early to gauge the importance of this victory or describe it as a turning point, but a performance was required and the biggest crowd of this season so far certainly got one.
Claverham were happy to bowl first in overcast conditions and openers Duval Pierre (1-33) and Dominic Hooper gave skipper Richardson the control he has craved these past few weeks.
Hooper in particular was almost unplayable and took the first two wickets to leave the visitors 20-2. It was soon 46-4 as Hooper snr bagged the wicket of Wenham. Bishopston fought back and counter attacked through Mark Coombes (41) and the dangerous James Taverner (41), until Sam Jukes was introduced to once again take important middle innings wickets.
Keith Miles chipped in with a wicket and Hooper jnr returned to finish with exceptional figures of 3-12 from 10 overs. Mitch Bench cleaned up the tail bowling an impeccable line and length to record 2-17 from 8.2 overs.
Cheered on by visiting sponsors, vice-presidents and life members, James Copeland (20) and Mitch Bench (21) took the total to 36 before Copeland was caught at slip. Bench soon followed as did Richardson (5) and Thorpe (12) to leave the reply teetering at 75-4.
Overs were not likely to be a problem, but wickets in hand were. Dominic Hooper (29) scored quickly and Pierre (18) battled patiently, but both lost their wicket to loose shots and the pressure mounted as the tail began to be exposed.
Sam Jukes though batted with style and skill and at 163-6 and with Charlie Ferris (18) untroubled at the other end, Claverham were nearly home and dry.
Not so, the pair perished both sweeping and when Keith Miles did the same first ball, Claverham were still six runs short with only one wicket remaining.
Thankfully Jon Watts kept his nerve and crashed a four through extra cover and a single next ball to leave the visitors one run away.
The win finally came after Hooper, who had solidly blocked the previous two deliveries, watched almost disbelievingly as the bowler hurled a waist high wide past the former captain to the delight of the noisy Claverham faithful.
Time to reflect, enjoy the moment and then prepare for this Saturday’s trip to Ashcott and Shapwick with confidence returned.
Claverham 2nd XI 202-8
Stapleton 2nd XI 203-3
At Sleepy Hollow, Richard Horton was carrying on his incredible run of form for the seconds and despite missing out on a century he helped the visitors to a reasonable 202 in their 45 overs.
Max Horton (26 not out) and Sean Cutler (13 not out) also contributing at the end. Horton snr has now racked up an astonishing 496 runs at an average of 99.2 in the league this season already.
Stapleton replied strongly and despite the best efforts of the Claverham bowlers wickets were hard to come by. Williams in particular stubbornly kept and end up finishing 95 not out as the home side got home with 5.4 overs to go. Skipper Mat Croker with 1-35 was the pick of the bowlers.