Frome 2s suffered an agonising loss on Saturday, going down by a solitary wicket to a resurgent Cheddar. In a low-scoring affair the Showmen weren’t quite at their best and were punished by the determined visitors who showed admirable skill and nerve to suffocate Frome with the ball before edging across the line in a tight run-chase. However,despite the disappointment results elsewhere went Frome’s way to ensure they still remain well in the hunt for promotion.
Torrential rain throughout Friday contributed to a soft surface at Fromefield, and upon winning the toss Cheddar had little hesitation in asking Frome to bat first. The early exchanges began positively for the Showmen, with Leonard again finding the boundary regularly to get the scoreboardmotoring. At 33-0 a platform looked to have been set, however opening bowler Willis had other ideas.
After trapping Leonard LBW for a bright 24 the bustling seamer decimated Frome’s top order, sending Gullock, Pinchen and Smart on their way in the same over to transform the game in the blink of an eye. At 39-4 a period of consolidation was required, and with the wily Clark keeping runs at a premium the scoring rate slowed. With the pressure rising, Arthur Harman was bowled to leave the innings in danger of unravelling at 46-5 as the players went to the drinks break.
Fighting resistance finally arrived in the form of Cantrell(17), who with the limpet-like Potter began to hit the gaps with more regularity. As scoring gradually became easier a flurry of boundaries began to put pressure back on the visitors, before Cantrell departed. Despite the setback Mark Harman continued the good work – combining well with Potter in a defiant stand of 34 for the 7th wicket to take the total beyond the hundred mark.
As the end of the innings approached Willis returned to see of Harman and Wheeler, finishing with an excellent 6-30and reducing the Showmen to 113-9. However an entertaining last wicket stand of 26 between Cox and Potter(56*) boosted the total to keep Frome in the game - the latter finally ‘letting loose’ to reach his half century in the final over. When Cox departed off the last ball Frome were finally dismissed for 139 – a testing total on a tricky wicket.
In response Wheeler snared an early victim as Travis drove to short cover, however a period of frustration followed for Frome as some wayward bowling saw the extras column mount and the scoreboard tick over untroubled. Just as Cheddar appeared to be taking control Collis then struck a vital blow in dismissing Gooch before Arthur Harman bamboozled Llewellyn to leave the game back in the balance at 41-3.
Some impressive counter-attacking from Houghton and Callow threatened to drag the game back the visitors’ way,however a brute of a delivery from Collis saw the latter caught behind and the match tantalisingly poised again at 67-4. Frustratingly though the Showmen couldn’t quite match their normal high standards and a crucial period followed where a flurry of wides helped navigate Cheddar out of some choppy waters and beyond the hundred mark.
As the 5th wicket stand passed 50 the match looked done and dusted when a final burst from Wheeler (2-16) knocked over the determined Houghton (41). This triggered a chaotic period of 3 wickets for 8 runs, as further extras were interspersed with the odd jaffa to leave Cheddar 125-7. As the calm-headed Clark and further wides edged the scores level Collis returned to grab 2 wickets in 2 balls, finishing with an action packed 5-34 and reducing the visitors to 139-9 - 1 wicket away from an unlikely tie.
Alas, another wide took the visitors over the line - a final extras total of 56 making painful reading for the Showmen. Whilst the courage and determination to fight back from various difficult positions throughout the day was admirable, some sloppy periods of play with both bat and ball ultimately left Frome short and Cheddar deserved victors.
Still – 2 games to go and all to play for. With the season reaching an exciting climax next week’s difficult trip to Burnham-on-Sea provides a good opportunity to put in an improved display and continue the promotion push.
Next match – Saturday 24th August, Burnham-on-SeaAWAY (1.00pm start)