All-rounder Ben Richards put in a Botham-esque performance with a quick-fire 51 off 31 balls, 2 wickets and a pair of athletic catches in the 3rd team win over local rivals Winterbourne 1st.
Stand-in skipper Darren Sargent won the toss and decided to bat on a yet another flat track at the Academy Ground. Smith and Sargent (40) got off to a quick start until Henry Smith was out Leg Before. A steady innings of 38 from number 3 Ed Wade proved to be the back bone of the South Wilts innings, which progressed at an even rate until Bolam and Richards strode to the wicket. 84 runs came off the last 10 overs.
With a strike rate of 155, Richards put the anaemic Winterbourne attack to the sword. He was ably supported by more-than-a-run-a-ball Bolam (29 from 21 balls). Both were not out at the end as South Wilts 3rds compiled a decent total of 221 for 6 from 40 overs.
Winterbourne’s reply was swiftly interrupted by Sam Burton taking the early wicket of opener Mani. Windows(25) and Johnson(38) were the only resistance to the South Wilts bowling line-up as wickets fell regularly to Bolam (3 for 24, 6 overs), Lloyd (1 for 18, 3 overs) and Richards (2 for 11, 3 overs). The wicket-to-wicket bowling of the South Wilts attack was too much for Winterbourne’s batting.
The game was cut short thanks to the wrist spin of diminutive ‘Milky-bar kid’ Ed Wade (3 for 14, 2.4 overs) who, on the orders of his skipper, polished the tail off with a flourish with his first 3rd team hat-trick. If only all young players were so compliant for their skippers as young Ed!
Thus the pre-season for South Wilts comes to an end with 2 wins and a loss against local rivals Steeple Langford, which no doubt will be put right in the coming league season.
Selection for South Wilts 3rds will prove tricky for next week’s league opener at home to Hursley Park 2nd as availabilities improve and so many young players make a claim for a third team spot. A good problem to have for the club!