WEPL Premier 1

Bridgwater 237-3 beat Cheltenham 233-9 by 7 wkts

BRIDGWATER maintained their good start to the 2019 season and moved to 3rd in the Premier One table with an excellent seven-wicket win at Cheltenham courtesy of an unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 121 between Calum Haggett (90no) and Stuart Butt (67no), who saw their side to victory with nine balls to spare.

Haggett’s innings of 90 off 131 balls with nine fours was paced to perfection and was a masterclass in how to chase a score on a good Cheltenham wicket.

He was supported well by Butt, who upped the tempo at a key time to take the visitors to comfortable win.

On winning his first toss of the season, Andrew Hallaran inserted the newly-promoted hosts and Chris Skidmore supported his captain’s decision by dismissing both openers in an initial opening spell of five overs.

From 16-2, Cheltenham rebuilt well with overseas player Josh Breed anchoring the innings, and he was initially supported by his captain Nick Evans (36) in a bright third wicket stand of 65 which saw the game in the balance.

Off-spinners Steve Davis and Andrew Skidmore induced a wobble in the Cheltenham batting as they fell to 106-5 at the half way stage, with Bridgwater back on top.

Chris Skidmore (2-25) left the field at the drinks break with an injury which meant he was unable to return to bowl, and Cheltenham were to find their biggest partnership of the innings as Mike Kelly (41) joined Breed and this pair put on 85 for the sixth wicket to enable the hosts to post a challenging target.

All Bridgwater’s bowlers all put in a good shift on a placid wicket with Chris Singleton (1-37) being the pick of the attack, supported by spinners Max Waller (2-51), Davis (2-46) and Andrew Skidmore (1-44), who all bowled their quota of overs on a big field.

Crucially, Bridgwater finished the innings well as Cheltenham couldn’t accelerate against some excellent death bowling and fielding, and finished on 233-9, a par score but by no means unachievable.

After tea, Cheltenham opening bowler Luke Sellers dismissed both Hallaran and Davis to leave the game interestingly poised at 35-2, however Haggett and South African Jason Oakes (35) rebuilt the innings with an excellent stand of 81 in a nutritional period of play which returned Bridgwater to the ascendancy.

Both looked in little trouble and it was a surprise when Oakes (four fours) was run out after a mix-up, which gave the hosts brief hope.

Butt then joined Haggett and they continued the good work of the previous partnership, taking few risks and keeping the chase on track in exemplary fashion.

When required Butt opened his shoulders and accelerated the innings to keep Bridgwater ahead of the scoring rate and the run chase was completed in the 49th over with Haggett hitting the winning boundary.

Butt played an excellent unbeaten innings of 67 off 65 balls, and alongside Haggett helped the visitors to a superb 22 points and their second win from three league games.

Match Ball Sponsors: TMB Patterns Ltd. Match Travel Sponsors: Charles Dickens Estate Agents and Falcon Vehicle Solutions Ltd.

Next Saturday, Bridgwater host Potterne at The Parks (12.30pm).