Even stevens as race for summit hots up

Wootton Bassett’s Jay Baden bowls to Swindon Civil Service’s Dan Ellis

Wootton Bassett’s Jay Baden bowls to Swindon Civil Service’s Dan Ellis

First published in Sport

WOOTTON Bassett captain Darren Beasant believes that his side must focus on their own game and not what is happening elsewhere if they are to achieve their promotion dreams.

The Rylands Way side returned to the summit of the Wiltshire League Division One table on Saturday following their six wicket success over Swindon Civil Service.

However, Bassett and second placed Malmesbury head into the final two weeks of the campaign level on points and wins with Beasant’s men top by virtue of beating their rivals twice.

And the table-toppers skipper knows that the whole campaign could come down to a dropped catch, miss-field or a rash stroke.

“We both know that we have to win our final two games of the season,” Beasant said. “So the focus has to be on the number of points you pick up.

“God forbid you have your opponents 99-9, you drop a catch, they go on to make 130/140 and you lose the title by a point - those are the margins we are talking about.

“We have to try and stay calm, not worry about what Malmesbury are doing and just trying to get as many points as we possibly can.”

In almost two decades as player Beasant says that he can’t remember a title race quite like this one.

“We have only lost one game all season and we could win our final two matches and still not go up,” Beasant said.

Malmesbury maintained their push with a 68-run success over Hinton Charterhouse.

James Gillespie hit 117 in Malmesbury’s 235-5, Pete Borton taking 3-66 before Charterhouse ended on 167-8. Richard Gaunt took 4-30 for the winners as Richard Newport hit 53 and Chris Antrobus 50 for Hinton.

Richard Foley claimed a hat-trick as Box secured a 44-run win over bottom side Collingbourne.

Steve Hall hit 59 in Box’s 172-9 as Owen Sheppard took 5-21 from seven overs for Collingbourne.

The reply was ended at 128, Foley’s 5-36 including his treble while Paul Gittens hit 41 for the losing side Swindon NALGO were 35-run winners over Bradford on Avon after reaching 197 all out, Imran Dastigir scoring 50 and Dean Bird taking 4-37.

Bradford were dismissed for 162 despite 44 from Chris Hotchen and Nick Gerrish’s 43, Latif Hussein taking 5-24.

Urchfont were six-run winners over Beanacre & Melksham, despite losing their last eight wickets for 17 in 13.5 overs as they were all out for 109.

Patrick Bromley made 32, but Jack Footner took 3-23 and Chris Downham 3-8.

Missing three front-line batsmen, Beanacre struggled against the pace of Morlon Simon and length of Keith Bills.

Only Steve Rendell (26) and John Wiltshire (41 not out) reached double figures as they were all out for 106, Bills finisning with 4-16 off 12 overs.

Swindon United Churches were bested by Division Two title-chasers Bear Flat, despite Adam Tooze taking 3-32 and two catches in Flat’s 187-9, Churches subsiding for 127.

Nigel Curtis scored an unbeaten 43 and Phil Steans 37 in Lacock’s 201-5 against Wroughton Wranglers.

Craig Taylor hit 31 for Wroughton but they were all out for 98, Mile Copland taking 3-30 and Steve Copland 4-29.

Richard Mansell hit 96 in All Cannings’ 147-7 against Spye Park, George Macilwaine taking 3-32.

Knocks of 64 from Matt Hutchins, 29 by Mike Du Boulay and an unbeaten 25 from David Beals helped Park to a winning 151-4.

Beehive (Southwick) got the better of Potterne 3rd by 18 runs in Division Three after reaching 161-8, with James Hall hitting 48.

Steve Taylor then took 4-26 as Potterne were all out for 143.

Unbeaten innings of 69 from Ed Read and 33 from Justin Wagstaff helped Heytesbury & Sutton Veny to an eight-wicket triumph over Wootton Bassett 2nd, which helped them leapfrog their rivals into second place.

Allan Norman struck 45 not out to help Seagry (111-9) past Corsham 3rd (107), despite a fine effort from Karan Kumar, who took 7-33 in 12 overs.

Avebury are all but home and dry in the title race, John Rheinberg hitting 73 in their 205-5 against Beanacre & Melksham 2nd before Dominic Fry took 4-19 as Beanacre were dismissed for 78.

“There have been a few years when a couple of teams have been fighting it out for the title going into weeks 14 or 15, but I can’t remember a season when two games have the same number of points and identical number of wins in the last couple of weeks.

“I suppose it makes it interesting for everybody else, but we know that we need a heap of points at Collingbourne on Saturday.”

Against Civil Service, the only team to defeat Bassett this term, a fine late spell from Juba Rahman, who finished with 5-31, saw the visitors dismissed for 148.

And while Bassett were never in any serious trouble in the run chase, Beasant felt that his side should have been able to pick up at least one more batting point than they did.

“We were cruising at 90-1 and I stupidly got myself run out, we finished with 22 points, but it should have been 23 or 24,” Beasant said.

“We have struggled against Civil Service for the last couple of seasons, so to get them out for 148 for a good effort.

“They were 130-3 with about 10 overs to go and then Juba picked up four for not very many in three overs to get us that extra bowling point.”

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