A slightly soggy Baltonsborough welcomed Kilve 1st XI after a longish journey across most of Somerset. Although it was damp, the outfield and square looked in good nick and a decent game of cricket was surely on the cards.

Skipper Carl ‘Clemenson (Stuart ‘Slug’ Lloyd was gallivanting around in South Africa perfecting his pronunciation of “awf stump”) asked the opposition to have a little bat first and the mighty Kilve donned their whites.

Welcoming back Gary ‘Tena Lady’ Stone to the side with the new ball seemed a good strategical decision when the first over yield a few surprises but no runs. ‘Skipper Clemenson took the second over from the top end. The combination of spin and seam proved extremely fruitful – for the ‘borough batsmen. Miller and Ashton tucked in with aplomb, putting away the bad ball clinically and driving well. When the 100 partnership came up in just 15 overs, Kilve looked to be chasing 300+ and needed a little bit of magic.

Up stepped Duncan ‘Furious D’ Malpass and Glenn ‘Daddy-O’ Manchip. Miller was soon caught off the bowling of Malpass to break the partnership and give Kilve a glimmer of hope. This brought Winstone to the crease who was so keen to add to the total that he was run out attempting a second bye. The opener Ashton was then caught well after a chance from Paul ‘Bambi on ice’ Cuff was put down via his head at long-on.

The Baltonsborough innings then stumbled to a halt. Manchip and Malpass turned the screw, with a combination of bowled, lbw and caught dismissals – notably Chris ‘Slogger’ James and Quinton ‘Sharkey’ Button who both took running efforts on the boundary. James was safe as houses, Button appeared to take his in the armpit, but nevertheless the batsman had to go.

From 100-0, Kilve managed to bowl out ‘borough for 161 with Malpass finishing with figures of 5-41 and Manchip 4-25. A superb comeback and good show of resilience from the fielding side.

Tea was very nice, but it rained solidly during the interval and Kilve started their chase in damp conditions. Pete ‘12 step’ Stone and James ‘Bert’ Payne opened for Kilve in the absence of Taylor. The partnership looked to be progressing well and despite a break for more rain, Kilve reached 43 (with Payne hitting the majority of the scoring shots) before Stone was well caught at short extra cover.

Payne was bowled by Lewis who was getting a good deal of movement from the drying wicket. Manchip and Munro set about steadying the ship. A big nick from Munro that was probably heard in Bridgwater went unpunished but he was only able to add four more before being caught by Miller off his own bowling.

This brought Stone junior to the crease, who looked to be in good form until a ‘Gay waft’ cost him his wicket, gloving down the leg side and being well caught by the keeper.

At 97-4, the Kilve chase still looked well placed and James and Manchip set about reaching the total. A big nick from James was taken by the keeper and the wily Steele had claimed his third victim. However, the score had crept up to 132 and with just 30 needed, surely Kilve couldn’t throw it away from this point.

Malpass was clean bowled first ball and suddenly it wasn’t looking too clever. With Manchip at the crease though, Kilve never looked in trouble – until he spooned up the last ball of Lewis’ spell to cover and was duly caught. Oh dear.

A captains innings from Clemenson looked on the cards and he drove well from the off. He teamed up with Button to help the score nudge towards the 160 mark. A suicidal run from Button, only exacerbated by a slip saw him run out.
‘Bambi Cuff tried to finish the game in style but missed completely and was bowled first ball.

The ever dependable Nick ‘Strawberry blonde’ Hancock arrived at the crease as number 11, took guard and was promptly hit on the foot first ball. Payne raised the finger and it was all over with Kilve finishing 3 runs short of victory.

Surprisingly, it was a good game and one from which we can learn a lot. Kilve fought back well when up against it in the field, and although we could have batted better, Baltonsborough displayed a ‘never give up’ attitude that was admirable.

The league is nicely poised, and 18 points from the two remaining games will see us promoted. With Cranmore at home this coming Saturday we have every opportunity to secure our place in division 4. The fat lady is warming up her vocal chords, let’s not let her down!