North Gear West of England Premier Two 1st XI - Westbury (61 a.o) lost to Thornbury C.C. (62-2) by eight wickets

THORNBURY made the long journey to Westbury, Wilts on Saturday knowing that victory was a must in order to avoid relegation from Premier Two.

A slightly damp wicket greeted the players and Thornbury captain Richard Trotman had no hesitation in bowling first when he won the toss.

Trotman needed his side to be at the top of their form and the Thornbury players responded magnificently.

After a slightly wayward and nervous few overs by Adam Fidoe, fellow opening bowler Anthony Ireland and veteran John Wormwell bowled with excellent accuracy and, in Ireland’s case, hostility that put a complete stranglehold on the Westbury batsmen.

However Thornbury’s first success was courtesy of a brilliant piece of individual skill from David Hammond when he ran out Breet after the batsmen and strayed from his crease during an LBW shout.

This set the tone for arguably Thornbury’s best performance in the field all season.

With runs being stifled by quality bowling and efficient fielding, Wormwell quickly removed Ibrahim and Dilena and, in turn, Ireland removed Milton with a pace delivery that was well taken behind the stumps by Hammer Reeves.

Juvaunie Gayle replaced Ireland but bowled with the same intensity and aggression in a fantastic spell of 6-3-3-2.

Westbury’s day went from bad to worse when a running mix up led to Mills being run out by Wormwell and the introduction of Chris Dent’s off spin soon bore fruit when Fidoe took a good high catch to remove Whiting.

Ireland returned to the attack and made light work of the tail and Westbury were put out of their misery, 61 all out in just 34 overs.

Ireland (11.5-5-14-3), Wormwell (10-2-16-2) and Dent (5-1-9-1) were the wicket takers along with Gayle but the whole Thornbury side deserve huge praise for their unfading application and skill under the highest amount of pressure.

Chasing small targets can prove tricky and Thornbury’s nerves were tested when Bridgen fell for a duck but Dent and Gayle set about the run chase with ease even though the new ball was moving around off the pitch.

The pair really gave Westbury a lesson on how the bat on such a wicket with sound defence, excellent leaving of the ball and scoring from anything loose.

With just one to win Gayle (25) went for a big swipe to end the game only for the ball to find the edge of his bat and taken by the keeper.

Veteran Simon Hinks strode to the wicket but didn’t even have to use his bat as the following delivery was a wide and Thornbury’s rout was complete, a huge win by 8 wickets the game all over by 4pm and Premier Two cricket guaranteed for 2009.

The early finish ensured the 1st XI could get back in time to watch Thornbury 2nd XI wrap up the Premier Two title as champions and the celebrations at T.C.C. followed with energetic enthusiasm.

l League cricket has now finished for another season but there is still a chance to watch some cricket at Thornbury C.C. this year with a Presidents XI v T.C.C. XI fixture on Saturday, September 13 including an inaugural beer festival. Everyone very welcome. Festivities are from 12pm onwards.