The Kilve 1st XI began their 2014 campaign with the first of two friendlies away to Wembdon.

Although the weather was very fair for mid-March their was a definite nip in the air, and with a hard but classic looking green top on offer, it was no surprise that Kilve skipper Clemenson opted to put the home side in first.

Ryan Penwell opened up from the School End and was straight into his groove, hitting great line and length whilst swinging the new cherry enough to have both batsmen groping for the ball.

Jay Darrell opened at the other end, and although he was finding good pace it’s fair to say his line was a bit amiss. Although he tightened up and induced a couple of edges through the slips and 3rd man he remained wicketless, and was replaced by James Payne who struck in his second over.

Payne had Lowe expertly stumped on 39 by Ed Martin as the batsman went walkabout trying to up the scoring rate.

It took a while before the next wicket fell, as young Tom Lott took a liking to both Payne and Peter Stone who had replaced Penwell after a superb, miserly 7 over spell. Lott swept with abandon and hit numerous boundaries in a hard hitting 61 before he feathered behind off Stone.

Stone was soon among the wickets again as both Rawles (8) and Holliday (8) were bowled attempting fairly agricultural shots.

Young Chris James replaced Payne at the village end but he only lasted one over, failing to find any other length but halfway, before he was replaced by Dean Marchent who was on the money right away with his ‘wibbly wobbly’ tempters. He induced numerous false shots before he had the young opener Pigden well caught behind by Martin for 46. Although he had given a few opportunities, the young batsman had played a solid innings and some of his classy strokemaking towards the end of his innings showed fabulous potential for the future.

Veteran Phil Curd was next in, and although he looked his usual self, playing straight and rock solid in defence he was well bowled for 11 by a returning Darrell, who had only just managed to find all the toys he had thrown out of his pram earlier.

With less than 10 overs remaining and the score sitting below 200, Dan Bingham looked to up the total and played numerous classy shots all around the ground, including a superb maximum over deep midwicket that was timed to perfection.

With the pressure on the home side to post a competitive total they started to hit out and Kilve took their chances well. Parker was run out by Marchent for a duck before Stone snagged his fourth wicket – Payne catching a swirler from Gliddon at mid on, leaving the Wembdon innings sat on 228 for 9 – With Bingham 29* and Max Syvret 1*.

After a great tea, the new look Kilve opening partnership of Stone and Cris Taylor took to the middle in the hope of setting a solid foundation for the chase. Taylor (10) looked pretty free of any early-season rust, hitting several customary early boundaries before he was well caught by Bingham off his own bowling from the Village End.

Young all-rounder Darrell joined Stone in the middle but the pair weren’t together long as Darrell yorked himself off the bowling of left-armer Gliddon after scoring 12, bringing Payne to the crease.

Realising any more wickets could be the catalyst for a collapse, the pair began to rebuild the innings with patience, and although Payne survived a big appeal for caught behind off the leg spin of Lott the two looked relatively untroubled, despite the Wembdon bowlers consistently hitting good areas.

Payne began to open up and with a quick outfield, it wasn’t long before the pair had put on 50 together. Despite a hand injury hampering his grip, Stone punished anything over-pitched, and before long the scoring rate was over 5 an over – well on target.

Payne took 3 boundaries off Curd’s first over, after he replaced the impressive Bennet and it wasn’t long before he reached his 50, pulling a short ball to the leg side boundary.

The hundred partnership was reached shortly after and with the pair starting to open up, Payne (63) fell at deep midwicket boundary, well held by Lowe off the bowling of Curd.

Ed Martin (5) joined Stone at the crease before he was caught by Lott hitting out, before in-form skipper Clemenson failed to fire after scoring 10. Unfortunately, Stone fell quickly too for a well-made 55, bowled by Bennett.

With the Kilve chase in danger of faltering, it was a situation made for Chris James. With over 30 needed off 5 overs, he proceeded to smash, carve and bludgeon the ball to all parts before hitting Bingham for 3 consecutive boundaries off the last over to bring the game home for Kilve with two balls to spare.

Well supported at the end by Marchent (2*), it was a great way to end what was a competitive, but very enjoyable game of cricket.

Special thanks to Wembdon CC for giving us the opportunity to play at their ground, it looks in great condition and we’d like to wish you all the best for the season.