South Wilts second team clinched a remarkable promotion on Saturday beating 2nd placed Purbrook to pip them to success in the final weekend.
Having already lost 6 games in the season, it was unusual for South Wilts and Purbrook to be anywhere near the top 3, but in a strange season in Division 3, this was to be the case.
Having won the toss South Wilts started in solid fashion and even though Tom Berzins was to depart with 28 on the board, Owain Phillips and Jo Cranch consolidated the positive early start to build a solid foundation. However, out of nowhere James Gurney drew a loose shot from Phillips and he was to go for 40 leaving the hosts 65-2. The middle overs saw pace off the ball and as has been a trend this year, the second string were to struggle. Tom Pearce was to be crucial to the innings and having manipulated the spinners with ease, he knew he had to bat through the innings to get the side past 200. Contributions came from the other end, Cranch, both Pittmans and Rob Franklin all playing their part, and when the innings reached 200-6, with 4 overs to go, things were set. However when Aaron Dean was to take 3 wickets in 1 over South Wilts were in danger of not batting the overs. Pearce ensured this wasn’t to be the case. 16 came from the final over albeit somewhat fortuitously, but a competitive 226 to win had been set thanks largely to an unbeaten 73 from Pearce. Aaron Dean 4-33 the pick of the bowlers.
In reply, Purbrook lost Alex Mengham in the 2nd over clean bowled by James Wade and when Figgins was bowled by Rob Pittman with the score at 47, the hosts seemed well on their way. Purbrook though had nothing to lose and while wickets seemed to tumble at regular intervals, they were never far away from the run rate. South wilts spin trio though contained and forced errors and when the score was reduced to 110-7, the game seemed it was going only one way. Aaron Dean was to come in at 8 and he was to cap off a fine day for himself. A quickfire 50, including a couple of mighty sixes got Purbrook close but with 50 needed off 4 overs it was to all be in vain. 2 run outs put end to any hope the visitors had and the innings was concluded at 199. Pittman 3-43, Franklin 2-25 the pick of the 5 bowlers who all bowled tidily despite 19 wides again being a nemesis of recent weeks.
Rob Pittman said after the game ‘We’ve been fortunate to be in this position, but today showed why we deserve to go up. Our extra bit of quality and team spirit came to the fore today and just saw us home in the end.’
With such a young side, its been a super effort from the second xi squad and they can look forward to the 2019 season in Division 2 after just the 1 year away from it.