Kilve took the long trip to Castle Cary in the hope of returning to winning ways after their defeat at the hands of Watchet the previous week, and with the weather fine and the track firm, it looked to be a lot less crucial toss to win.
Kilve skipper Clemenson called correctly and opted to put the home side in, the amount of grass left on top being the deciding factor, and it proved to be the correct one as both Darrell and Penwell found great bounce and swing from the off. Penwell struck first, finding the outside edge of J. Elsworth’s bat, Chris James taking the pouch at gully.
The left-handed Lake looked in good touch, punishing anything full but Darrell’s line was superb and after he had the young batsman fishing outside off he produced a textbook yorker on the stroke of drinks and castled him for 10.
Penwell picked up his second, well-earned wicket having Chadoir well caught by Pete Stone for 2, although Stone was so hungover it was a wonder he saw the ball at all!
With the skipper looking to tighten then screw, Darrell was replaced by Gary Stone and he was on the money from ball one, his perfectly-flighted off breaks causing several false shots and inside edges.
He struck in his second over, C. Elsworth looking to give him the charge and was stumped well short of his ground for 10 by veteran keeper Ed Martin.
James ‘Badger’ Payne replaced Penwell at the park end, and although he received some tap from the incoming King in his first couple overs, he soon tightened up his length and the runs started to dry up.
Opener Bontoff had looked solid, strong off his legs and square of the wicket, but he found Stone in superb form and an angled bat whilst driving caused his downfall, an inside edge onto the stumps ending his innings on 34.
King was joined at the crease by Davis, and it’s fair to say neither batsman was looking to hang around. Davis in particular, hit Stone for successive sixes, one of which was as big as most players had seen, and although the bowlers tried to bowl tight it’s fair to say the batsmen were looking to score with as many boundaries as possible.
Payne, who restricted the batsmen to a couple of singles in the previous few overs then snared King, bowled off his pads for a powerful 42, before Stone had Hunt leg before after scoring 6. The bowlers did well to keep Davis (33*) off strike and pick up wickets along the way, Stone catching Grundy off his own bowling for 2, and Payne striking again, having Kierle superbly stumped by Martin for a duck before a returning Darrell yorked Leach for 1.
This left the Castle Cary innings on 159, surely a below-par score on an excellent batting track?
After a stunning tea, the Kilve chase started with openers Pete Stone and Darrell walking to the crease.
Both batsman looked to make early inroads, but Stone fell without scoring cutting Lake straight to point. Ed Martin looked to steady the ship, but he also went cheaply, playing on off the bowling of Hunt for just 2.
Payne joined Darrell at the crease, and together the pair rebuilt the innings. It would have been easy to try and hit out on a good, true batting surface, but knowing the run rate was only really going to be 4 an over the two worked the ball around well, with an added bonus of a boundary being more than welcome. Payne hit two consecutive fours off Lake, one so straight it clipped the stumps and a cover drive that raced to the rope.
Darrell was in excellent touch, anything short and wide was given the treatment, and not many play the square cut better – he absolutely creamed two fours off Hunt before he was replaced by King.
With both batsmen set, it was a surprise when Payne (24) fell. Looking to open up, he looked to cut a short delivery but only succeeded in getting a thick outside edge which was well caught at gully.
He was replaced by Gary Stone, and together the pair well and truly put the tie to bed. With 80 needed off 25 overs the batsmen started slowly but it wasn’t long before they opened up, Stone especially.
His array of shotmaking was exceptional, a punch down the ground here, late cuts there, flicks off the legs and the trademark flick over midwicket both he and Darrell soon had the Castle Cary field silent.
A Kilve victory now surely inevitable and it wasn’t long before Darrell hit the winning runs, carrying his bat for a superb 68, with Stone ending unbeaten on a chance-less knock of 41.
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Kilve, and a pleasure to be part of a great game played in a great spirit.