AFTER a successful week in the cup competitions Bridgwater got back to winning ways in the league and maintain their good form with an 18 run win over a good Cheltenham side at the Parks.
Surprisingly put into bat, Bridgwater reached 291-6, Will Smeed leading the way with 130 off 113 balls. However, given the excellent condition of the pitch, this only looked par for the course.
Andy Hallaran was typically aggressive from the start of the innings until his cameo 25 was undone by one shot too many.
Smeed was circumspect at the start as he tried to get the pace of the pitch, but quick on to anything loose. This was at a premium from Luke Sellers’ medium pace as he picked up 1-13 from his first six overs from the Northfield end, including the wicket of Gloucestershire professional Tom Lace (6).
A third wicket stand of 153 between Smeed and Calum Haggett (59) set the home side up for an imposing total, with Smeed the dominant force as he brought his 50 up from 43 balls as he began to dominate the Cheltenham bowling.
The sizeable crowd was very appreciative of the classy batmanship on offer and stood for Smeed’s fine century which he obtained by smashing a maximum over square leg to the far side of the ground in the 29th over.
With the score at 223 Smeed was trapped LBW by left-arm spinner Max Shepherd and credit must be given to the Cheltenham bowlers who continued to stick to the task and brought themselves back into the game with three quick wickets as the hosts struggled to accelerate in the final ten overs.
The in-form Alex Eckland (31 not) then produced a crucial cameo at the death, with four boundaries in the final over to set the visitors 292 to win, an imposing score but not impossible on the small Parks ground.
After tea Ned Leonard was very impressive with the new ball as he bowled the best downhill spell at the Parks this season bowling with pace and accuracy without any luck.
Max Trotman and Kieran Smith built a strong opening partnership in good time, with Trotman particularly severe on anything short as he took the attack to the Bridgwater bowlers.
Haggett was to get the crucial breakthrough in his second over as he clean bowled Trotman (40) with a good delivery, and supported by the excellent left arm spin of Max Toohey (0-44 off 9) Bridgwater began to take control of the game as the required run-rate extended over eight and then nine an over.
Smith (68) continued his good innings and shared partnerships with captain Nick Evans (23) and South African Josh Breed (53).
In the balance
The game was in the balance at the 30 over drinks break, however skipper Butt pulled a rabbit out the hat by re-introducing the pacey Leonard (2-32) who immediately dismissed Smith. And when Tom Bellinger picked up Peglar for a duck the visitors were suddenly 180-4 with overs running out.
Breed continued to improvise with some well played sweeps and scoops, however both Haggett (2-56) and Chris Singleton bowled excellent second spells as Bridgwater snuffed out any chances of the visitors gaining the upper hand with Leonard bowling Breed with four overs to go.
Match sponsors were CRS Building Supplies Ltd and Match Ball Sponsors TMB Patterns Ltd.
Next weekend Bridgwater travel to Chippenham while the 2nds host a strong Taunton 1st XI at the Parks (12.30pm).
2nd XI victory
The 2nd XI picked up a timely win at Chard, dismissing the home side for 157 with Scott Clapp picking up 5-30. Bridgwater chased their target in 25.5 overs with Ben Coombes (41) and Chris Skidmore (26) sharing an opening stand of 59.
The 3rd XI continued their strong start to the season beating Frome 2nds at the Parks Nursery Ground. Frome were dismissed for 156 with Harry Bennie particularly impressive with 4-10.
Tilly Bond, Tom Wickens and Michael Skidmore all picked up a brace. The run chase was completed with the minimum of fuss with Will Moyse leading the way with an undefeated 41. Timmy Netto made 35 and James Salt 26.
The young Bridgwater Pointers side had a tough day at Cranmore, however young Max Bryant had an excellent game with 2-28 and 21 not out.