Frome 2nd XI suffered a painful defeat at Bridgwater on Saturday, going down by the finest of margins with the opposition’s number 11 at the crease. After 3 weeks of most things going the Showmen’s way - a day of setbacks, missed opportunities and cruel misfortune ended with them missing out on what would have been a sensational win by a coat of varnish. However the side can still be justifiably proud of a monumental effort with only 10 men that stillleaves them 3rd in the league.
After a difficult week of availability Frome unfortunatelyarrived at Bridgwater a man light, and on losing the toss were sent in to bat on surface with uneven bounce.Openers Leonard and Potter survived some early ‘chin music’ to make it through the first 10 overs unscathed, however a double strike from Chillingworth put the hosts in the ascendancy at 31-2.
Leonard and Jon Dredge then dug in to continue their good early season form and put on a determined stand of 63 to get Frome back into the game. Leonard (60) looked in good touch in notching a second successive half-century however failed to clear mid-on trying to up the rate. This brought Ian Pinchen to the crease who combined superbly with Dredge (30) to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
A further double strike left the innings in the balance at 135-5, however Pinchen (58) continued to find the gaps at will –scoring all round the ground in a nuggety first half-century for the club. Ably supported by Mark Harman (26) the pair added 76 in good time, with some late order scampering getting Frome up to a competitive 223-7.
Despite the man disadvantage, Frome started well with the ball – keeping the scoring rate in check. A deserved breakthrough arrived when opener Court chipped Mark Harman to mid-wicket, however opener Netto rode his luck to push Bridgwater past the 100-mark 1 down. With the game drifiting away youngster Ollie Brook chose the perfect moment to grab his maiden 2nd team scalp to send the Showmen to drinks with a timely boost – however with much work to do at 116-2.
In need of inspiration after the break Frome went for the jugular. A fired-up Sam Wheeler (2-24) came roaring down the hill to snick-off the dangerous Netto (64) and trap the outspoken Salt bang in front. When Cox followed that upwith a double-strike the next over – including dangerman Skidmore – the game had remarkably been turned on its head. A further wicket for Harman left Bridgwater 166-7 and the Showmen were now unbelievably favourites.
With the match now at a crucial stage Cantrell and Potter had to try and slip some overs in. An incident-packed 5 overs saw several frustrating opportunities come and go,along with a series of boundaries that appeared to be seeing Bridgwater to victory. However with the finishing line in sight a final burst from the excellent Collis and Cox (3-53)saw them snare a victim each to leave the game on a knife-edge at 216-9.
As the final pair sneaked towards the total, the vital moment came and Mark Harman drifted in a yorker to the number 11. As the ground fell silent the ball beat the bat, missed leg-stump by a whisker and scuttled down to the boundary for the winning runs. A tremendous game of cricket that was so close to becoming a famous Frome win against the odds, ended in an agonising 1-wicket loss.
Despite the disappointment Frome can take great heart from the way they fought all day in tough circumstances to almost pull off the unexpected. With other results going their way the side can still take great confidence and belief that similar shows of spirit and determination will more often than not end up with games going in their favour and keep them up at the ‘business end’ of the table.
Top marks to everyone and let’s go again next week against Purnell!