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Frome 1st XI (309-4 dec.) beat Ilton 1st XI (48 all out) by 261 runs

Frome First XI did all that could be asked of them by comprehensively beating Ilton and picking up every possible bonus point available, but it was to no avail as a Wembdon victory saw their faint hopes of taking top spot disappear.

Despite the overcast conditions, after winning the toss Frome elected to bat knowing this gave them best opportunity to manufacture the most points possible from the game. The usual opening pair of Paul Sanger and Stonell saw Frome off to a positive start, taking the score to 25 in the fifth over before Stonell was caught at mid-wicket. This bought Bleakley to join Sanger and together they put on their first major partnership of the summer.

Some early boundaries saw the field spread, and then both batsmen worked the ball around into the open spaces running extremely hard, giving a lesson in how to bat in the middle overs. The score passed 50 in ten overs, and then 100 inside 19 overs despite neither player taking too many risks, as the bad ball was dispatched to the boundary and the remaining deliveries knocked into the gaps for ones, twos and threes. Sanger was first to 50, before Bleakley followed shortly after, and the pair were both eying up their first centuries of the season at drinks as Frome were very well placed at 144-1.

Knowing the plan was to declare the innings inside 45 overs in an attempt to gain the extra two points awarded for declaring and winning, Frome continued to be positive after drinks and picked up where they had left off, before just as he looked set for a deserved hundred, Bleakley edged behind off Hitchcott for 86. Smith joined Sanger who was also approaching on a personal milestone, but 22 runs later he was denied in similar fashion, given out caught behind for an excellent 83.

Smith and Dan Dredge took the score passed 225 and gained Frome their fifth batting bonus point, and there was no let up for the Ilton bowlers as the pair kept the run rate high. Smith was eventually caught attempting another maximum for a well-made 43, which bought Mark Dredge to the crease on his first team return. As if he’d never been away he began to find the boundary with ease, as did cousin Daniel as the pair saw Frome past 300, eventually declaring on 309-4 from 44 overs.

With one half of the job complete, Frome set their sights not just on the victory, but on bowling out the visitors cheaply to pick up maximum bowling points. They started extremely well, with opening bowlers Wheeler and Craig Dredge starting with three maidens, and by the time Wheeler had removed both openers the total was just four from ten overs. It was soon three down as Ilton skipper Price was caught by Mark Dredge off Wheeler for 0, before Craig Dredge got in on the act having Mason caught for 7.

Jones and Brunt took the score to 28-4 whilst riding their luck, but the game was all but finished during the 17th over. First Wheeler bowled Brunt (7), before three balls later trapping Hitchcott LBW to seal a five wicket haul, before picking up a sixth two balls later by bowling Fooks for a duck. It was left to the spin of Mark Sanger and Hamblin to finish the Ilton innings.

Pollock was the next to depart, run out attempting a second to Paul Sanger, before Lonton was bowled round his legs by a Mark Sanger leg break for a duck. Hamblin finished the game by bowling Payne for 2 to dismiss Ilton for 48 and give Frome victory by a massive 261 runs, and importantly pick up 7 bonus points in the field giving them the maximum possible 24 points.

But it wasn’t to be enough as Wembdon picked up the victory they required at Westlands to hand them the title.

The match was sponsored by Bracends Sweet Shop. Next week Frome look to cap what has been a strong finish to the season as they visit Butleigh.