Swindon AdvertiserWILTSHIRE DIVISION: Stand-in skipper Clarke notches a ton as House secure their first victory (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Stand-in skipper Clarke notches a ton as House secure their first victory

Swindon Advertiser: Nationwide bowler Darren Milne in action against Marlborough at the weekend Nationwide bowler Darren Milne in action against Marlborough at the weekend

JON Clarke led from the front for Nationwide House as they secured their first win of the season, crushing Marlborough by nine wickets in the Wiltshire Division.

After restricting their visitors to 233-5, the stand-in captain and his brother Nick Clarke eased the bottom side home with 20 balls to spare.

Nationwide did have to recover from the loss of opener Matt Hyde for a duck, before Jon Clarke followed up last weekend’s score of 92 with a 148-ball 128, which included 11 fours and four sixes, while his brother Nick was just four runs shy of his own century.

“One game, one win and hitting a ton - not bad is it?” Joked Jon Clarke about standing in for regular captain Russell Arkley.

“Seriously though this was a team performance and that is very pleasing.

“Everyone chipped in with the ball and we were very good in the field, we could have done with five specialist bowlers, but we only had three.

“So having restricted them to 230-odd and I was confident that we could chase it down, but I didn’t think that we’d do it for the loss of just one wicket.”

Clarke’s confidence was borne out of the fact that Nationwide had managed to put 250 on the board the previous weekend when attempting to chase down a Trowbridge total of 305-4 declared.

“We had plenty of confidence from that match,” Clarke said. “I also think that we are more confident at chasing down totals rather than containing them.

“I think if we had batted first against Marlborough then we would have probably scored about 230-240 and they would have fancied their chances of reaching that total too.”

While the nine-wicket success still leaves Nationwide at the foot of the table, they are now only four points adrift of Devizes.

“We go to Winsley this Saturday and it is a place historically we don’t do very well at,” Clarke said. “But hopefully we should have more players available for selection and with the confidence from this win maybe we can start to climb the table.”

The stand-in skipper’s century, his first of the season in the Wiltshire Division, has come in a good run of form which has also seen him score half-centuries in mid-week cricket.

“I think I’m showing more application with the bat now,” Clarke said. “I looked at my stats from last year and a lot of my wickets were caught.

“I’ve made a conscious effort to regroup after every ball because previously I was blazing a 50 and getting out.

“It was also good to see Nick get a good score as well.

“He was probably guilty last season of scratching around a bit, but he is striking the ball very cleanly and getting some good runs.”

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