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Frome 1st XI (275-9) beat Minehead 1st XI (158 all out) by 117 runs – West of England Premier Div., Sat. 30th May

Frome recorded a deserved victory to get themselves up and running in the Bristol-Somerset Division on Saturday 30th May.

After winning the toss and batting, Frome made a steady start through Paul Sanger and David Dredge. They moved to 47 without loss in after 10 overs through some assured stroke-play, but just when both openers looked set to make hay in the sun disaster struck in the 15th and 16th overs. First Sanger (14) was bowled attempting an expansive drive, and then Dredge was run out after a mix-up with Bleakley for 38 before Smith was bowled without scoring.

Gullock joined Bleakley with the score at 68-3 and the home side buoyant, however both batsmen looked assured and continued to play positively. Gullock in particular took on the short bowling from the Minehead seamers, including one big six over square leg. As Frome approached the drinks break having steadied the ship, Gullock was caught behind for 24, and soon after drinks they were in trouble again as Smart departed for 1 leaving the score 128-5.

Bleakley reached a deserved 50 and was to be key if Frome were to post a competitive total on a high-scoring ground. Together with Mark Sanger they moved the total to 149 before Sanger (8) was bowled. Neal and Bleakley then put together a stand before Neal too departed, for 10 with the innings still in the balance at 171-7.

Wheeler joined Bleakley who now looked to up the ante. With 14 overs still to be bowled there was plenty of power for Frome to add, and Bleakley began to find the boundary as Wheeler worked to give him and much of the strike as possible. Together the score moved past 200, past the 50 partnership and towards 225 and maximum batting points before Wheeler was caught for 11.

Bleakley was now crashing the bowling to all parts, and bought up a brilliant hundred to the applause of his team mates. Some lusty blows from Craig Dredge (17) supported Bleakley in getting Frome to an excellent 275-9 from their allotted 50 overs.

Frome knew on a good surface with some short boundaries they’d have to work hard to defend their total, but got off to an ideal start as Neal and Wheeler made early breakthroughs. Neal bowled Jones for a duck before Wheeler had Sherring caught behind for one to leave Minehead 4-2.

A strong partnership between Buchanan and Martin began to find boundaries and moved onto 100 in 18 overs with the game in the balance.

The introduction of Craig Dredge couldn’t break the partnership but spinners Hamblin and Mark Sanger were beginning to squeeze the run rate and eventually that paid dividends when Sanger trapped Buchanan LBW for 48.

Hamblin’s 2-29 and Sanger’s 3-39 swung the game Frome’s way. Once the pair had finished Minehead’s reply was in tatters at 138-7. When Martin was smartly caught behind by Smith of David Dredge for a well-made 64 Frome were all but over the line, and when Dredge removed the final pair Frome picked up 20 points and a deserved 117 run victory to take them above their opponents in the table.

This weekend Frome look to build on this as they host Brislington at Fromefield.