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Frome bt North Petherton by 165 runs – Premier League Somerset Division, Sat. 12th July

Frome First XI maintained their lead at the top of the Somerset Division of the West of England Premier League with a comprehensive defeat of North Petherton on Saturday 12th July. 

After losing the toss and being asked to bat first, Frome’s openers Paul Sanger and David Dredge made a solid start. Watchful at first they soon began to pressurise the bowling and the score raced to 60 in 11 overs before Sanger was bowled by Lloyd Irish for 30.

Bleakly joined Dredge for the major partnership of the day. Dredge began to punish anything short hitting several sixes over square leg and Bleakley worked the ball into the gaps as the score passed 100 and was 121-1 at the halfway point.

From there the rate increased as Dredge passed 50 and Bleakley did soon after. With the score at 191 a sensational catch by Lloyd Irish a long on saw the end of Bleakley for a well-made 64.

From there Frome suffered a mini collapse as Smith, Dan Dredge and Unwin all departed without scoring. In between David Dredge brought up a brilliant hundred but followed soon after for 109 and Frome had work to do still at 209-6.

But Stonell (17) along with the strong lower order delivered as Mark Sanger (13), Neal (23) and Wheeler (15) all scored quick runs to lift the home side to 281 all out in the final over.

With rain around Frome knew they needed to get overs in quickly to ensure a result – hopefully a positive one – and they were well on the way to a victory after excellent opening spells from Neal and Wheeler. Openers Lewis Irish (0) and Hucker (9) were dismissed by Wheeler whilst Neal accounted for Winter (5), Williams (0) and Lambert (0). A smart run out from Paul Sanger in between left North Petherton in all sorts of trouble at 25-6.

Frome then turned to the spin of Mark Sanger and Hamblin, and after a small partnership another clatter of wickets saw Frome on the brink with the score at 46-9, via two wickets for Hamblin and one for Sanger. But an extraordinary innings from number 11 Knight – batting with a runner after injuring a hamstring – saw him smash 9 sixes on the way to 66 not out, before Frome finally managed to snare the wicket of Thurston, bowled by Hamblin for 4.

Thanks to match ball sponsors Frome Referees Society. Next week Frome have no fixture, so wait to see how the chasing pack fair.