Frome 2s winning run continued on Saturday thanks to another fine team performance, this time at Taunton.Several times throughout the day the Showmen were put under the cosh but showed great tenacity to not lie down -and aided by some heroic individual efforts with bat and ballnow find themselves 3rd in the league.
The day didn’t start well for Frome – bank-holiday traffic and a lost toss meant a late arrival and an opening stint inthe field at the picturesque and notoriously batsmen-friendly Taunton. A tough start ensued, with the home side’s openers settling in and laying a strong foundation in the first hour. However opening bowlers Cox and Mark Harman showed impressive patience to keep the score in check and not let Taunton race away.
A deserved breakthrough finally came just before drinks but at halfway Taunton appeared in the box-seat at 98-1 and their two main men at the crease. Step forward man-of-the-moment Arthur Harman, fresh from his demolition of North Newton the week before he produced another sensational spell of off-spin to transform the game in Frome’s favour. The top 5 were ripped out in the blink of an eye as they struggled to handle the sustained accuracy, spin and bounce – a richly deserved 5-23 taking his tally to 11 wickets in 2 weeks!
After wrestling back the momentum Frome then showed admirable discipline to restrict the lower order. Just as partnerships threatened to develop, key wickets nipped the recovery in the bud – with Shane Ford (3-19) particularlyimpressive at mopping up the tail. In the end Taunton were bundled out for 182 – below par for a belting track.
After a good tea watching Somerset batter Hampshire at Lords during the interval, Frome’s response started badly –Potter departing LBW in the second over. However Leonard and Cantrell looked assured in rebuilding the innings, striking some crisp boundaries to ease the nerves. Even when Cantrell (22) edged spinner Hart to slip, Leonard’s serene progress continued - a typically combative half-century (52) easing the Showmen to 85-2.
However, in keeping with true Frome run-chase traditionsan untimely collapse then caused the innings to unravel. Hart and Rohilla - aided by what must be acknowledged as some exceptional catching and ground-fielding – combined to great effect, building pressure and knocking over 4 wickets for 28 runs. When a miscommunication and direct hit left Arthur Harman short of his ground, Frome were on the brink at 123-7 and staring defeat in the face.
Amid the chaos though – where there’s a Dredge, there’s hope. As Mark Harman joined Jon Dredge something special was required and the pair delivered in spades. As Harman evoked memories of his rescue act at Trull a fortnight previous, JD showed incredible determination to take the responsibility of seeing the side home on his shoulders. After seeing off Taunton’s main threats he initially nudged and dabbed before finally unleashing a powerful array of pulls, cuts and drives in a match-winning 57* to get the Showmen close and then power past the winning line – a heroic 8th wicket stand of 63 seeing Frome to 186-7, a 3-wicket victory and a welcome 35 points.
Another excellent game which ebbed and flowed thankfully went Frome’s way – making it 3 wins on the spin. As the platitudes continue to mount the side keeps on showing many of the qualities required for a strong season –consistently building pressure in the field, multiple match-winners with both bat and ball, and a lot of bottle to fight when the going gets tough. It’s been an eventful ride so far… let’s see where else it take us!
Games coming thick and fast next week with the side in T20 action on Wednesday in the SCB Intermediate Knockout Cup at home to last year’s winners Temple Cloud.Saturday brings another tough away trip in the league with the Showmen travelling to Bridgwater.