After two successive weeks of no play due to bad weather, Kilve travelled to South Petherton on a warm but overcast afternoon. After losing the toss, Kilve were put into the field, a situation they had found themselves in every game bar two this season, so it was familiar territory as Ryan Penwell and Jay Darrell took the new ball.
Despite the pair bowling superbly and causing numerous false strokes and near misses, the Petherton openers belied their bottom of the league status and played very well, hitting some great shots to all parts of the ground to gain good momentum in the early overs.
After Darrell’s opening salvo had proved fruitless, he was replaced by James Payne and his ‘Yardy Darts’, but despite quite a few edges falling into the gaps he was unable to make the breakthrough.
It took a fantastic reflex stumping by Ed Martin to finally bring an end to Guest’s stand as he fell on 17 off the bowling of Penwell, and after fellow opener Acreman (25) was run out by a superb Andrew Martin bullet-throw from the boundary it looked as if Kilve were finally getting into the game at last.
Left arm tweaker/pie chucker Chris James replaced Penwell after his allotted 12 overs and his impact on the game was instantaneous, taking the wicket of Allen with his very first ball.
With Payne turning the screw at the other end, James unleashed his whole variety (ahem) on the unsuspecting batsmen to snare the classy Boulton for 45, Powell for 4, Lukins for 4, Harris for 15, Williams for 7 and Konch for 1 in a stunning 8 over spell that saw him take 7-42 with at least 3 of the deliveries simply unplayable.
Payne’s last few overs saw him take a bit of tap, so he was replaced by Darrell and he proceeded to bowl Bell for 6 with a cracking inswinging yorker to end the South Petherton innings on 162 all out.
After a cracking tea that included home-made sausage rolls and quiche to die for, Kilve openers Cris Taylor and Ed Martin took to the crease, hopeful of knocking off the required runs on a fantastic, rock hard track that was looked to be devoid of any gremlins whatsoever.
Despite some excellent tight bowling by the Petherton openers, both batsmen began the chase solidly, respecting the good ball but punishing the bad one. Both Taylor and Martin were in typical mood, Cris hitting several crunching shots to the rope, whilst Ed kept the score ticking along nicely with expert precision.
With the pair looking totally unruffled, it came as a surprise when Ed fell in the 29th over. After putting on a solid century stand with Taylor, he feathered behind to the keeper Acreman off of Lukins for a well crafted 34, bringing young Andrew Martin to the crease.
Unfortunately, he was walking back the very next ball as he proceeded to miss a straight one and was castled, meaning the even younger Marc Girling joined Taylor at the crease.
Despite his textbook display of how to not move your feet at all while batting, he played the shot of the day without question – a superlative extra cover drive for 4 off Lukins, before he was bowled by Harris without adding to his total.
Payne joined Taylor at the crease and with just 30 runs required, the pair set about knocking them off.
Payne played his trademark straight drives and tickles round the corner, while Taylor sensing the end was near ran amok, launching the ball to square leg, midwicket and straight with some serious power hitting to end unbeaten on 94.
With the scores level, Payne (10 no) pushed Harris to cover point for a single and that, as they say, was that. Although it was another great all round team performance, both James and Taylor provided match-winning performances that gave Kilve another maximum points win to maintain their lead at the top of the table.