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WILTSHIRE LEAGUE: Purton seal return to WEPL
PURTON captain Elliot Hill may have celebrated leading his side to the Wiltshire League title this weekend, but the memories of an opening-day defeat to Bradford on Avon still rankle with him.
Hill’s side cantered to a comfortable victory over Beanacre & Melksham on Saturday to mathematically ensure promotion back to the West of England Premier League, 12 months after they took the crown but were subsequently removed of it after being found to have fielded an ineligible player.
A year on from that incident, the ill-feeling towards that series of events is still obvious around Purton, but those sentiments have been well repressed and despite slipping up on the first afternoon of the season Hill & Co have stormed to the title by not losing any of their 16 subsequent games.
“It (being stripped of the title) was certainly motivation,” said Hill. “We are a group of individuals who may well be more suited to playing at the level above. We ran Marlborough close in a pre-season friendly without Akki (Gomel).
“We’re in the league we’re in and we’ve won it pretty comfortably again and had a successful year.
“It would be nice to stay unbeaten since that first game all the way through til the end. We’re still disappointed about losing that first game, it would have been nice to have gone through the season unbeaten, and we’re more than capable of that, but it wasn’t to be.
“It’s important now that we transfer that form into next year, which will be a bigger challenge. We’ll build on this year, it’s not the end of the side and we will grow and develop.
“We’ll pull in a few new faces and hopefully have another successful season.”
Looking back on the campaign, Hill highlighted victories over Wootton Bassett and Urchfont in the first half of the term as Purton’s two most important moments.
“After slipping up in the first week of the season, we had a massive game against Bassett in week three or four where we had Tom at a wedding, Aaron sitting exams and Imran missing and others stepped up and we won pretty comfortably,” he said.
“The Urchfont game was another a big game and they were probably the two big games in the first round which we won. From then on we got our heads down and made sure we didn’t do anything silly.
“It’s all turned out very well and we can all enjoy the final game of the season.”
Last weekend, Purton’s win over Beanacre was a routine affair, the likes of which the club have got used to this year.
Aaron Lee took 4-20 and Gomel 4-11 as the visitors crumbled to 116 all out on a seaming wicket. In reply, Gomel hit 51 as Purton cruised to their target in the 18th over of 45.
Hill said: “I’m not sure why they decided to bat on a wicket that was greener than most we play on and had been under covers all week.
“It certainly did quite a bit first up. Aaron should have had a five-for if I’d held a catch. They may have been better bowling first and trying to give us a game but maybe they weren’t confident in restricting us to a lower total.”
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