By Andy McWhinnie.

Gloucestershire County League Division Two

Thornbury CC 2nds vs Chipping Sodbury CC 2nds.

THE LAST fixture of the first half of the season brought Chipping Sodbury second XI to The Ship.

The weather had cleared from early morning cloud to leave a blue sky and temperatures soaring towards 30 degrees Centigrade.

Thornbury defending an eight game unbeaten run won the toss and decided to bat.

Both the previous weekend’s centurions were unavailable along with the regular keeper Tom Moore, but this opened the way for other players to make a mark.

Regular opener James Tunnicliffe was joined by Colin Blick, who would also keep later, and the pair put on 96 into the 16th over before they were parted, with Tunnicliffe failing to make a quick single and getting run out for 44 (off 51 balls).

Unfortunately Blick didn’t last much longer before he departed the next over after making 37 (off 45 balls).

This brought David Hammond and Jack Gillett to the crease who were to enjoy an 84 run partnership taking the score to 187 in the 33rd over before they were parted. Gillett went first LBW for 40 (off 48 balls).

The fifth batsman to the crease was Andy Weeks and he and Hammond put on a superb partnership of 43 off just three overs and two balls, taking the score to 230, ensuring maximum batting points.

Hammond had got to 69 (off 64 balls – nine fours and one six) at the end of the 36th over when he skied a catch.

That left Andy Weeks to make his way rapidly to 57 not out (off just 37 balls – eight fours) to see Thornbury through to 294-5 in their 45 overs, assisted by Pete Wheeler (8) and Tom Jenkinson two not out and 37 extras from the Sodbury bowlers.

On the Thornbury ‘road’ with a lightning quick outfield, this was probably about a par score.

Tea was taken at 3:45pm.

Sodbury took to field having lost their first five games and won their last three.

This new found confidence was exhibited to the full by their opening batsman – Matt Webb, who hadn’t passed 10 in his previous matches, to claim an outstanding 104 at just better than a run a ball.

Thornbury opening bowler Tunnicliffe (first five overs for 36) and Sam Williams (six overs for 23) suffered a boundary fest from Webb and Dan Brown – 23 (off 25 balls) to let Sodbury get away early on, bringing up the 50 in seven overs.

Enter Thornbury captain Greg Mallitte to once again apply the brakes and get the first break through when he turned one past Brown with Blick getting the stumping (59-1, in the 12th over).

Webb then found a willing partner in Jake Havard who put on a 118 run partnership together to take Sodbury to 187 before they lost their next wicket.

Mallitte rotated his bowlers trying to find some control, but both Gillett and Jenkinson were expensive and unable to get a breakthrough.

Spin proved to be the answer with Alex Allen entering the fray.

In his fourth over, Allen struck twice to remove Havard and Dyer – 189-3, with 30 overs gone. Mallitte at the other end in conjunction with an outstanding diving catch from Gillett in front of the wicket removed the dangerous Webb – 189-4, 31 overs.

The game definitely wasn’t over but Thornbury had wrested the initiative away from Sodbury.

Apart from one late flurry of a 57 run partnership for their eighth wicket, Sodbury were always second favourites for the win as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

Allen ended with another double wicket strike in his eighth over to take his tally to four for the innings. One of these was another great catch by Gillett who also got a good run out to his name.

Sodbury ended up on 286-8 off their 45 overs – their highest score of the season to fall just eight runs short of the Thornbury total.

All in all, a very good, close game played in a great spirit.

Gillett’ day wasn’t done though, as he was voted Second Team player of the month for June afterwards.

Thornbury now sit top of the division with nine wins from nine.

Thornbury host Ullenwood Bharat 1’s next week (Sat 7/July) at The Ship.