Football: Stone stun promotion chasers

(9131692)

(9131692)

First published in Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor covering the Thornbury, Dursley and Yate areas

Gloucestershire County League Division Two

Stone (150-5) beat Westbury-on-Severn (146) by five wickets

A SUPERB all-round team performance by Stone caused a massive upset at Swanley last Saturday as they defeated promotion-chasing Westbury.

After electing to bat, the visitors made the worst possible start when Tom Burrows was caught behind off Ben Evans (2-23) from the very first ball of the innings. Evans continued to bowl with discipline and was rewarded again soon after when Will Hargreaves was caught at slip at the second attempt by Greg Allen.

Not to be outdone, the ageless Charlie Viney (1-16) was rewarded when he trapped Westbury captain Ian Dunn lbw for five leaving the visitors 21-3 from 10 overs.

James Barnes (1-28) had Daniel Anderson caught behind by Pete Booth for 12.

James Downs did his best to keep the scoreboard ticking over but when Ian Martin fell to Alan Sherman's first delivery (1-21) this summed up Westbury's afternoon.

Some hefty blows from Downs and Dan Hockaday (19) pushed the score towards 100 but Ian Hall entered the attack and ripped the Westbury lower order apart by taking wickets in three successive overs.

Downs brought up his 50 but was caught and bowled by Hall, who ended with figures of 8-31-4.

Some clever batting at the end by Ed Edgerton and Jonathan Hardgreaves gave the visitors a chance of posting a defendable total until the latter was run out by Sherman from the last ball of the innings.

The Stone response started positively as Rich Boroughs dispatched anything loose to the boundary until he was caught by Burrows for 16 from the bowling of Greg Artus (3-42), who struck again in his next over when he bowled Hall for four.

Adam Palmer managed to start scoring freely as the score passed 50.

Artus struck again in the 13th over when he managed to get through Palmer's defences and bowl him for 18.

Booth fell victim to Hardgreaves in the following over for six leaving the game in the firmly in the balance as the hosts were reduced to 61-4 from 14 overs. Fears of another legendary Stone batting collapse were allayed as Dave Jones and Greg Allen played with great sensibility and started building a crucial partnership.

Just when it looked like the pair would see Stone home, Allen edged behind for 21 with the hosts still requiring 33 for victory.

Captain Sherman (18) played a supporting role, giving Jones the opportunity to punish any wayward bowling as he raced along to 43.

Not to be outdone, Sherman got in on the act and hit 16 in five balls to seal what was in the end a comfortable win, and more crucially 20 invaluable points.

With no game this week, Stone will be hoping to cause another upset in a fortnight when they host table-topping Woodpeckers at Swanley.

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