This was always going to be a difficult match against our "bogey" team Burbage & Easton Royal despite the home advantage.
Some last minute changes to the team saw Tom Vincent and Corey Tallentire replacing Tom Lloyd who was called up to the rarefied atmosphere of the "firsts" and Rhys Evans who wasn't available.
The wicket looked good although a little green with a slightly damp outfield resulting from over night rain.
As usual Ali Goddard called correctly and decided to bat. He and Kyle Oakley got Trowbridge off to a very quick start and for a time batting looked easy. They took the score onto 34 before Kyle was caught for 15. The importance of these "quick-fire" runs would not be realised until the game was drawing to a close. Tom Vincent playing his first game of the season fell soon afterwards brilliantly caught by Hayden Amor at slip off of Gareth Robb for a duck - it was not to be his afternoon!
Robb also accounted for Ali when he made 24, another excellent low catch being taken again by Amor. Adam Bolton and Matt Dicker moved the score on slowly due to some tight bowling and effective field placings. They pushed the total on to 75 when Adam had a rush of blood and was caught at long-on from the last ball before the drinks break off of left-arm spinner Charlie Green.
A post drinks disaster then occurred when Chris Dicker joined brother Matt who was sent back trying for a short single by Chris and run out. Arguments are still raging at the time of writing. Chris' take on it was that Matt didn't call, it was a suicidal run and he wasn't going to sacrifice his wicket: Matt's take on it was that as his brother hadn't scored any runs this season he was trying to run him out to get Prabhu to the crease! Fate then intervened when Chris was adjudged to have snicked a leg-side catch to the keeper by Burbage's standing umpire Peter Dick.
Indeed it was Prabhu Vanniyar playing in typical uninhibited IPL mode who made batting seem quite easy again top scoring with 29 from 37 balls before he was caught by Jon Street from Mark Styles' bowling. At the other end Jake Paxton and Harry Robbins were unable to repeat their match-winning feat of the week before. Jake was bowled by Charlie Green for 3 and Harry LBW to Mattie Milne for 6. Last man out was Alex Tanner caught by Amor (his third catch) off of Mark Styles leaving Corey Tallentire not out on 6 after playing the shot of the day - a straight drive for 4!
Burbage's bowling was tight and a lesson in bowling to their field which restricted Trowbridge's run scoring chances further. Spinner Charlie Green took 3 for 28 from 8 overs and although he didn't take a wicket Terry Strong finished with the impressive figures of 7-3-13-0.
Trowbridge's total was a sub-par 137 against a full-strength Burbage side. This feeling was compounded further when Tom Vincent badly injured his shoulder in the first over trying to stop the ball and took no further part in the match. We wish him a speedy recovery and are glad that it proved to be nothing more than a muscular issue.
If our opening batsman got Trowbridge off to a flying start so did Alex Tanner and Harry Robbins. From the third ball of his first over Alex had the dangerous Gary Legg LBW from a typical "in-dipper" - the appeal could be heard in Melksham!!
With his first ball Harry Robbins also struck trapping Hayden Amor LBW for 1. Then with the score on 23 Harry bowled skipper Nick Patel for 9.
23 for 3 game on!!
At the drinks break Ali gave his young team a pep talk about believing that they could win.
However despite Tanner's constant maritime exhortations - audible in Chippenham - Burbage's Dan Swatton and Jon Street steadied the rocking ship significantly. Needing only 138 to win they took the score to 84 when Swatton on 49 and looking nervously towards his 50 skied a catch off of Jake Paxton which was brilliantly taken running in by Alex Tanner - the celebrations caused the M4 to come to a standstill!
84 for 4.
Meanwhile Chris Dicker had come on to bowl off-spin from the Palmer Road end and was soon bowling very accurately with just five runs coming from his first four overs. It wasn't until his fifth over that he started to get amongst the wickets having Rhys Davies adjudged LBW for a duck.
88 for 5.
At the other end Jake Paxton was bowling with equal accuracy - 1 for 7 from his first 3 overs - and considerable zip to his seam bowling. In his third over he induced a leading edge from Gareth Robb and took a simple caught and bowled.
91 for 6.
Jon Street and his team were still looking towards a victory with batting ability all the way to no 11. With the score still on 91 Street tried to sweep a ball from Chris but just managed to edge the ball on to his stumps and was bowled.
91 for 7
Charlie Green soon followed trying to hit Chris out of the ground and was again bowled.
91 for 8.
Mark Styles then followed in similar style (!) bowled by Chris off of his third ball for a duck.
93 for 9
There was still life in Burbage though as the experienced Terry Strong had come in and was looking dangerous. At the other end young Matthew Milne looked very assured playing defensively and giving Strong the strike. Chris had then finished his spell and the stage was set for Alex Tanner to resume the attack with just two of his allotted over remaining. Alex however fell to the ground with a leg injury after fielding the ball and was seemingly in terminal agony - the cries could be heard in Swindon! Alex soon recovered when skipper Ali threatened to bring on another bowler and was soon charging in trying for that last wicket because Burbage were getting very near. Harry Robbins bowled a tidy over from the Palmer Rd end; it then came to Alex's last over!
The score was on 114 with Burbage requiring just 23 to win and Trowbridge needing just one wicket. Alex's first ball to Terry Strong a "dot" then with the second ball Strong got a leading edge and it ballooned towards Harry Robbins at square leg - it hung in the air for an eternity, Harry looked nervous, my fellow scorer said "no Terry what have you done", Harry shifted and still looked nervous, he got into position, he puckered his hands; HE CAUGHT IT!!!
114 all out.
The International Space Station shook with Tanner's celebrations.
We had won beating our arch rivals Burbage by the slimmest of margins.
Pick of the bowlers were of course Alex with figures of 8.2-0-29-2; Harry Robbins with an amazing 6-2-8-2; Jake Paxton with an excellent 8-2-24-2; and lastly "old golden arm" Chris Dicker with the remarkable figures of 9-5-14-4 - he bowled 36 balls without conceding a run - the middle overs of his spell being 5-5-0-4!
It was however a team performance giving the seconds more belief in themselves as their mid-innings pep talk from Ali asked them to do.
As a development squad the selection of this team needs to remain constant
Well done to everybody - we're at home again next week to Goatacre 3's - see you there!?
Your correspondent in the score box.