ELLIOT Hill’s tactical banter helped Tom Bowler rediscover his form with the bat, as the Purton all-rounder made an unbeaten century in his side’s victory over Calne on Saturday.

Bowler, for whom runs had run very dry in recent weeks, was the subject of a little gentle mocking from his skipper over the course of the week but responded in terrific fashion with a flash-bang hundred at Beversbrook.

The former Wiltshire player carted the Calne attack for 128 in 124 balls, spanking 10 fours and five maximums as Purton reached 253-8 from their 50 overs. In reply, Bowler took a wicket and contributed a run out, while Aaron Lee returned figures of 3-32 as the hosts limped to 168 all out.

Assessing his star man’s display, Hill revealed his special pre-game strategy. He said: “Tom batted very well. He’s had a quiet couple of weeks to his high standards and I’ve been giving him a bit of jip and he’s responded exactly how I wanted him to. He batted very intelligently, took the runs that were on offer and pretty much carried his bat through the whole innings.

“I’m generally a happy go lucky guy so I just wind him up. I tell him I’m going to take his mantle as the best batsman at the club and try to ignite his competitive spark, and I think I did that on Saturday. He’s ahead of me in the runs so it’s up to me next week.

“I’m quite happy being horrible and cheeky to people in the side if it gets those kind of performances out of them. We enjoy playing our cricket but if that’s the way to get performances and results out of people then long may it continue.

“That was pleasing to see and 250 runs is always going to be a tough ask. While one of their opening batsmen gave it his best shot, they were always behind the eight ball.”