South Wilts move into the last 8 of the SPL T20 knockout competition after inflicting a comfortable defeat on Division 2’s Paultons.
Batting first, Paultons were very much hit-and-miss, with deliveries generally being hit for boundaries or not-at-all. Despite this, a solid platform of 35 was delivered by openers Cameron Grierson and the hard-hitting Nathan Feltham, before first-change bowler Rob Pittman bowled the former for 22. Following the powerplay overs, scoring was restricted further as wickets began to tumble. Jack Richards in particular bowled tightly, removing first Josh Metcalfe, bowling him around his legs, then Feltham for an innings high score of 29. At the halfway stage, South Wilts had restricted Paultons to only 62 for the loss of 3 wickets- a great effort considering a very small boundary towards the houses.
More wickets were to fall in the subsequent overs as batsmen really struggled to find the fence. Jack Richards picked up another wicket to finish his 4 overs with a fine 3-17, while Ryan Murray returned to bowl his final 2 overs to take 2 wickets for only 5 runs, finishing with 2-20. But, at 88-6 with less than 5 overs left, South Wilts were left ruing 4 missed run-out chances as earlier sharpness seemed to leave them somewhat. Simon Ennew in particular used all his experience to end on 27 from only 16 balls as Paultons finished a respectable 132-6.
Openers James Hayward and Joe Cranch set the tone for the run chase, with the former striking the first 2 deliveries of the innings to the boundary. 52 was on the board in under 5 overs before Cranch was bowled for 13, with Hayward at the other end using a mixture of power and innovation to be the mainstay of the run-chase. Hayward was to score 70 of the 93 on the board before he chopped-on to Metcalfe; of the 34 balls he faced, 13 were hit to the boundary and 2 over it. The score progressed easily to 123 with skipper Rob Pittman and Sam Arnold at the crease, before a collapse occurred that made scoring the final 10 runs unexpectedly difficult. Three wickets fell for only 4 runs, before Luke Evans drove the ball to the cover fence to win the game in the 18th over by 4 wickets. Pittman ended a good day personally by finishing on 19*, having earlier taken 1-26 in 4 overs.