The new Gerard Buxton sports complex was the venue for top-of-the-table clash with Wootton Bassett 3's.
The wicket was somewhat damp after overnight rain but had started to dry out. Pitch watchers predicted that we would bat regardless of who won the toss. Again it was skipper Ali who called correctly and the Trowbridge openers were soon strapping on their pads.
As is often the case the 2's got off to a quick start thanks to Kyle Oakley and Ali Goddard. They took the score to 44 before Ali was caught for 15 from the bowling of Tari Dogra, Kyle meanwhile had looked set for a big score smashing 4 fours and a six before he was caught behind for 29 off of "Rhino" Vincent. Matt Dicker was unfortunately stumped off of WB's most threatening bowler skipper Jas Chahal for 4 but Rhys Evans and Adam Bolton steadied the ship and moved the score on to 78 before Rhys was bowled by off-spinner Chahal for 19.
The innings then began to falter again when Tom Lloyd was bowled by Mike Boulton for 2, and Adam eventually departed for a well-made & patient 29 off of James Smith's bowling. The same bowler also accounted for Dave Johnson LBW for a duck. Chris Dicker then came to the crease and looked somewhat uncharacteristically out of form playing & missing but he persevered and moved the score on to 121 with Ritesh Pal who eventually fell LBW to Smith for 7.
Enter Jake Paxton. From the outset Jake began to play freely making those back in the "hutch" wonder what made batting seem so difficult. At the other end Chris was still struggling but gave Jake most of the strike and they pushed on to 155 before Chris was out caught at mid-on for 9. Harry Robbins then strode confidently to the crease with 10 overs to go seemingly anxious to take his chance, which he did wonderfully well. By now Jake was placing the ball between fielders almost at will and taking some very short singles. Harry batted pugnaciously, at one point pulling Mike Tyrie for three consecutive fours. He was also as adept as his partner at taking the short single necessitating constant tweaks to the field settings by the opposition. From 155 for 9 Jake and Harry took the score past 200 so achieving maximum batting points for the 2's. Harry was eventually out bowled by Yasir Irshad for an excellent 33 which unfortunately and unknowingly left Jake stranded on 49 not out. The pair had put on 59 for the 10th wicket in just short of 10 overs. Jake's 49 included 6 fours from 58 balls and Harry's 33 4 fours from 30 balls.
So we had set Wootton Bassett a challenging 215 to win!
Trowbridge opened with Tom Lloyd and from the other end Harry Robbins who had both taken in a few well-earned calories at tea - the home-made Samosas were great!
Tom was soon making the opposition openers weave and duck in the fastest spell that we've seen all season. But it was Harry bowling equally as menacingly from the other end who made the first break through having opener Irshad well caught by Matt Dicker at second slip for 4. He then went on to crack the unfortunate Euan Burke on the thumb and took the wicket of Mark Vincent caught by Kyle Oakley at gully for 14. Chris Dicker then came on to bowl spin after a couple of over from Kyle and almost immediately brother Matt spilled a difficult chance at slip off of Ryan Vincent - they went home separately!! Chris had his revenge in the next over when keeper Rhys Evans held on to a catch to dismiss Vincent for 2. Jake Paxton eventually ended Euan Burke's innings for 11 with Matt Dicker clinging on to a "sitter". Wootton Bassett were now 45 for 4.
James Smith and David Griffin then came together and in their different styles began to edge their team towards the target. With a mixture of "agricultural aggression" and subtle placement the pair put on 55 before Tom Lloyd coming back for his second spell trapped Smith LBW beaten for pace for 25 with the score on exactly 100. Griffin soon followed caught by Matt Dicker (his third catch) for 17 off of the returning Harry Robbins for 17. With still plenty of overs to go Jas Chahal and Paul Burke then tried to go for victory but they were thwarted by Ritesh Pal who cleared up the tail having Burke caught by Chris Dicker for 12, Tari Dogra was caught behind by Rhys for 0 and Mike Boulton bowled also for no score. With the score on 151 Chahal was the last to perish again caught behind by Rhys Evans (his third catch of the innings) off of Jake Paxton for 15.
So victory again for the 2's who gained maximum batting and bowling points to take them to the top of the table.
It had been an excellent all round team effort with a match-winning last wicket partnership between Jake and Harry.
This is a well-balanced & well-captained young team which needs to retain a core of players who can ensure the future of the club.
The only point of controversy in an otherwise quiet day in this respect was Rule 25 in both its application and its also being the opposition's top-scorer!!!
Arch-rivals Burbage & ER next week at home - see you there!