Cricket: Nichols scrambles winning run off last ball

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First published in Sport

WEPL Glos/Wilts Division

Westbury & District (170-3) lost to Rockhampton (171-8) by two wickets

UNBEATEN Rockhampton claimed a dramatic win off the last ball against Westbury and District.

Given the week's weather, they were delighted when captain Jack Spence won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Some extremely tight bowling from openers Will Cartlidge (10-4-14-0) and Chris Perry (10-3-19-1), coupled with some good fielding, left Westbury in a very unusual position of 45-1 as drinks were taken at 25 overs, Perry collecting the only wicket with a good catch behind from Rowan Cartlidge.

Both Tom Cullen (57 from 118 balls) and Jared McDonald (65* from 105 balls) seemed very content to continue at this pace and the introduction of Guy Brothwood brought about the wicket of Cullen with the score on 112 with just nine overs remaining.

At the other end, Dave McCabe was enjoying an excellent debut and his consistent line and length allowed Spence to bowl his ten overs straight through with very respectable figures of 10-1-43-0, along with the ever reliable Sam Nichols (10-0-44-0).

The hosts attempted to push things along in the closing overs but in reality never took any risks and they could only muster 170-3 from their 50 overs, Brothwood (10-0-45-2) grabbing the other wicket.

The visitors' chase didn't get off the best of starts with the in-form Will Tyler misjudging a delivery from Andy Carroll and departing without scoring.

Brothwood and Rowan Cartlidge saw off the new ball with ease and confidence in an excellent fifty partnership before Brothwood was caught in the slips for 27.

Rowan and Matt Tyler and the two carried on where they left off at Marshfield with a chanceless 80-run partnership to take Rockhampton to a comfortable 130-2 with 15 overs remaining.

To their credit, Westbury never gave up hope and once they dismissed Cartlidge for 47 they sensed a collapse could be imminent.

Tyler (30), Spence (2), Perry (6), Collins (0) and Will Cartlidge (0) were all dismissed in quick succession with only Sam Phelps (24*) showing any resistance.

He was joined by Nichols as Rockhampton required 12 to win from three overs with just two wickets remaining thanks to some typically lusty blows from Phelps.

A few nervy ones and twos followed, leaving three to win from two balls.

With the field up, Nichols launched one over mid-off and, assuming it was four, started to celebrate and jog through for a single, only for the ball to plug in the soft outfield, resulting in the pair only running a two.

On the last ball, Nichols hit it straight to mid-on and incredibly Westbury managed to miss the stumps, allowing Rockhampton to complete a remarkable victory.

As the dust settled it was clear that the main difference between the two sides was the three wides bowled by Rockhampton and an inexcusable 26 wides bowled by Westbury.

Rockhampton host Tewkesbury in the league on Saturday and are again at home on Sunday, attempting to progress to the national stages of the Village Knockout against Redmarley, both start at 1pm.

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