Frome 2s were denied a spectacular victory on Saturday, as they just ran out of time to bowl out Purnell in a rain-affected draw. Despite spending much of the day sheltering from the elements, the Showmen put in a valiant effort to make up for lost time and very nearly pulled off theextraordinary. However, despite just running out of overs Frome still managed to pocket a healthy 29 points which leaves them well placed in the race for promotion.
After a wet Friday, Frome made their shortest away trip of the season in the knowledge that a Saturday of sporadic heavy showers could have a significant impact on the game. This proved to be the case, as a heavy downpour just before the start delayed play till 3.30pm – resulting in a 30 over contest. The Showmen duly lost the toss and were unsurprisingly inserted.
Despite the weather the surface remained hard and good for batting as Leonard and Potter got Frome off to a strong start. Leonard (22) in particular cashed in on width with a series of powerful cuts to get the scoreboard moving, before a mistimed pull sent him on his way at 39-1. Not long after the rain returned to bring about an early tea and a further reduction in overs for the second innings – Frome now needed to post a score in 30 overs and bowl out Purnell in 19 overs to force a win and avoid a rain-affected draw.
On the resumption Gullock and a more fluent Potter pushed the score on, before the latter was bowled attempting to up the rate further for an uncharacteristically spritely 37. Jon Dredge then combined well with Gullock in an impressive stand of 82 in 12 overs – mixing hard running with controlled aggression to sieze on anything loose. Gullock (55) brought up a well-deserved 2nd consecutive half-century before perishing at the back end of the innings, leaving Dredge (38*) to see Frome through to an 8th batting point and an imposing total of 175-3.
In response Purnell understandably prioritised seeing out the remaining time, however another superb opening burst from Knight and Asim had the home side reeling at 15-3 from 6 overs. Determined resistance then came in the form of skipper Nathan Redwood and Casling – easing Purnell to 53-3 with only 5 overs remaining and the game seemingly meandering towards an inevitable draw.
A lapse in concentration then saw Casling chip Wheeler to mid-off and instigate a stunning collapse courtesy of a wonderful spell from Cox. Hitting a great rhythm the young quick produced a hostile burst to pin Francis LBW, have Hewish dropped in the slips before castling his off stump in the space of 3 balls. When Arthur Harman then induced Redwood to sky to mid-on Purnell had lost 3 wickets in 4 balls, and a superb final over from Cox (3-14) bowled Rudd with his last ball to make it 62-8 – leaving Matt Knight 6 balls to take the final 2.
However a determined John Brain survived the first 5 before a leading edge back to Knight (3-11) off the final delivery saw the Showmen fall just short and the innings closing on 67-9 - a lightning collapse of 6 wickets for 14 runs not quite enough to swing the result Frome’s way.
Despite the draw Frome can take immense satisfaction from a pretty much complete performance with bat and ball - a sizeable points haul deservedly lifting them back to second in the table. After the tough day against Taunton the side deserve great credit for bouncing back with 2 dominant displays - showing great improvement in all departments at just the right time.
Three weeks to go and a very exciting end of the season in prospect as a tight promotion battle continues with Frome at home to Cheddar next week. Don’t miss it!