DESPITE missing four of their regular first-team members, Wootton Bassett kept the heat on table-topping Malmesbury in the Wiltshire League title chase, as they edged past Hinton Charterhouse on Saturday.
With talismanic batsman Sam Lawro out through injury and Jack Twine, Jack Dymoke and Dan Ellis all absent, captain Darren Beasant had to call on fringe players to do the business against Hinton. And they did just that, winning by the slender margin of four runs in a rain-reduced encounter.
Reflecting on the victory, Beasant couldn’t hide his delight, particularly given Malmesbury - away at rock bottom Collingbourne - were only able to extend their advantage by a single point.
He said: “We were missing four of our senior players and Hinton aren’t a bad side, particularly down at Hinton. I think they were third going into the weekend. A number of guys had to come in and maybe one of the differences between Bassett and some of the other sides in the league is we have a little bit more depth than others.
“Some of the guys who came in did a stand-out job. It was probably a little closer in the end than we wanted but it was another last-over nailbiter.
“Twenty-one points away at Hinton - we’d have taken that with Sam and Jack et al. To go down there with something of a patched up side, with respect to the guys, and come away with the points is great. We only lost one on Malmesbury, who were away at Collingbourne, so we’ve got to be delighted.”
Rog Willoughby marked his return to the first team, having been dropped a fortnight previously, with a spell of nine overs which brought him figures of 6-37, as Bassett defended their total of 204.
Following a break for rain, Hinton were left to chase 186 for the win but fell short when they were dismissed for 181 in the 41st over, primarily thanks to Willoughby.
Of his spell, Beasant said: “Rog struggled a little bit by his own admission this season. He’s bowled seam up for 15 or 16 seasons and none of us are getting any younger. Unfortunately he lost his place a couple of weeks ago, which he understood but was disappointed by. He bowled off spin Saturday - the first time he has bowled it in a game - and got 6-37. Hopefully he can go on.”