The Kilve 1st XI travelled to Weston-Super-Mare-based Belvedere on what was the hottest day of the year so far. Even though there were clear blue skies overhead, on winning the toss Kilve skipper Clemenson had no hesitation in putting the home side in on a track that looked like it had plenty to offer any bowler – That turned out to be true as balls were leaping off a length one minute then shooting ankle high the next.

Jay Darrell and the returning Gary Stone opened the bowling and the pair had the batsmen in all sorts of trouble. Darrell struck in his 4th over, bowling Ashfield for 13 with textbook line and length – the ball kissing the top of off stump.

Stone had the batsmen playing numerous false strokes with his superb flight and control, but unfortunately Darrell lost his radar and was replaced by James ‘Badger’ Payne. He was right on the ‘cabbage patch’ from ball one. He had Hosey caught at point by Marc Girling for 15 before Girling himself had S. Neat (29) well held by Clemenson after replacing Stone, who was unable to force an error.

The Belvedere batsmen began to put up stiff resistance, and with the boundary a lot shorter than most grounds even edges were flying to the rope in double-quick time. Crockett and C. Neat began to up the scoring rate with some sizeable hits before Martin ‘The Silver Fox’ James struck by bowling Neat for 22 before having Loud caught in his next over for 2.

Clemenson replaced Payne at the other end and despite his usual opening over containing the proverbial bag of ‘allsorts’ he soon had the ‘Dere batsmen groping. Along with Penwell at the School end the pair restricted scoring opportunities by bowling excellent areas, and the pressure told as both K Crockett (41) and B. Hosey (5) fell to Clemenson in the space of two overs.

Unable to force another breakthrough, Payne returned in place of Clemenson and cleared up the tail, having Neville caught for 15 and Chatterjee caught off a thick top edge by stand in keeper Chris James who was simply excellent behind the stumps.

With final pair looking to score off Payne’s miserly line Ham called for a suicidal single and Davies was run out well short of his ground for a duck to leave the Belvedere innings sat on 199 all out – would it be too much for Kilve to chase on a track that was still doing plenty?

Openers Payne and Cris Taylor began with intent but it was a track that you were never really ‘in’ on. Taylor fell after scoring a brisk 21, bowled by Chaterjee who was offering very little to either batsman.

Darrell didn’t hang around long, driving uppishly off Ashfield to be well held at cover for 5, meaning the in-form Pete Stone joined Payne in the middle with the fielding side’s tail well and truly up.

Both batsmen were wary that a couple more quick wickets could cause a collapse on such a track and began the rebuilding job in earnest. Payne looked in good touch and with Stone punishing the bad ball the pair settled down and the partnership soon passed 50. With the score approaching 100 Payne fell on 53, trapped leg before from a quicker ball from Crockett.

Chris James joined Stone in the middle and together the pair looked to silence the home side. They did just that putting on another 50 partnership before Chris fell on 19 skying a catch to cover.

Clemenson joined Stone with less than 50 needed. Clem was in good touch and swept very well while Stone drove and pulled with authority before he fell with the winning line in sight – bowled by a ball that didn’t get above ankle height. Nothing you can do about those!

Girling joined the skipper with just 18 needed off 5 overs and the pair held their nerve superbly, Clemenson swept consecutive fours before Girling finished the match with a drive through to the cover boundary to give Kilve a hard fought victory – winning by 5 wickets.

It was a great performance on a very hot day, and chasing 200 on a deck that offered plenty of uneven bounce made the win even sweeter!