WHILE the WEPL Wiltshire title might have slipped from Swindon’s grasp last weekend, skipper Marc Williamson wants the club’s younger players to shine and stake their claim for a first-team spot next season.

Swindon fell to a three-wicket loss at Marshfield last Saturday, and consequently saw the gap between themselves and their table-topping rivals extend to 56 points.

With only four fixtures remaining for all teams, Marshfield already appear to have more than one hand on the league trophy.

But, determined to prove his side’s worth in the division, Williamson has called on his Swindon's younger players to follow in the footsteps of teenage opener Oliver Whiteley ahead of this weekend’s visit of Potterne 2nd.

Whitely, 15, scored 27 runs from 78 balls against Marshfield last weekend before being trapped lbw by Cameron Walker.

The teenager’s innings caught the eye of Williamson, who wants other second-team players to step up and boast the club’s strength in depth.

He said: “The focus changes for us now, it’s a case of giving some of the youngster lads a go.

“Oliver Whiteley came up from the second team to make his first-team debut, and he played really well.

“He managed to bat for 26 overs against the best team in the league at the age of 15.

“So, there are encouraging signs. It’s a balancing act, though.

“We want to use second XI players and grant some players experience at first-team level.”

Potterne 2nd have improved in the second half of the season, now sitting sixth in the table with five wins from 14 fixtures.

Not yet safe from relegation, the visitors still have something to play for over the next month.

And Williamson has warned any youngsters stepping into the first team to expect a tricky task when at the County Ground tomorrow.

He said: “It’s a massive step up from the second team, even though they only play in the league below the first team.

“The jump is significant, which makes it more impressive to see Oliver step up into a first-team environment under high pressure and deliver in what was possibly a league-deciding match.

“We’ve got more youngsters doing a great job in the second team – and we’ll possibly give some of those a go this weekend.

“Potterne 2nd are down at the other end of the table, so it’s another good chance to pick up a win.”

Elsewhere in WEPL Wiltshire, Royal Wootton Bassett face a tricky task when hosting title hopefuls Marshfield, while relegation-threatened Purton travel to Hinton Charterhouse in a huge bottom-of-the-table clash.