Narrow victory for Congresbury

PUBLISHED: 09:37 12 May 2017

Elliott Rice keeping wicket for Budleigh at home to Sidmouth. Ref exsp 16 17TI 1500. Picture: Terry Ife

Elliott Rice keeping wicket for Budleigh at home to Sidmouth. Ref exsp 16 17TI 1500. Picture: Terry Ife

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Congresbury started the new season with a narrow victory over Bristol West Indies Phoenix.

Congresbury 1st XV 220-8

Bristol West Indies Phoenix 1st XV 218-9

Congresbury first XI made a winning start to their league season after a nail-biting two wicket victory over Bristol West Indies Phoenix (BWI) at King George V Playing Field.

Mike Fisher and Iraq Thomas starred with the bat, sharing a blistering stand that turned the match in Congresbury’s favour. Earlier Martin Ford and Cameron Harding led from the front with excellent opening spells for the home team.

Jerone Burton took five wickets for BWI, but it was not enough to prevent Neal Frost and Sam Evans from scraping Congresbury over the line.

After losing the toss and being put in the field, Congresbury made a brilliant start when Ford nipped one back off a length to bowl opener Cole Pierre first ball of the match. Harding followed suit with a wicket of his own and the pair bowled a very tight opening 10 overs.

BWI went about repairing the early damage with Nicholas Clark (65) and James Pearson (29) building a strong partnership. However, Frost came into the attack and claimed the vital wicket of Pearson, brilliantly caught by Sam Kearns at mid-wicket.

BWI never regained the momentum, losing wickets at frequent intervals, but still made a respectable total of 218-9 off their 45 overs.

Evans and Harding claimed three wickets apiece, while Ford was unlucky not pick up more than his two.

Congresbury’s run chase got off to the worst possible start, losing captain Ritchie Bann for a duck before Harding (16), Ian Perry (13) and Ford (5) followed in quick succession.

With the home team reeling on 60-4, Thomas joined Fisher at the wicket. The pair immediately launched into the bowling, playing in an aggressive manor meaning that run-rate was never an issue.

Fisher (69) was first to reach his fifty, but Thomas (56) was never far behind. Just as the game looked safe, both batsmen were bowled by the impressive Burton and he followed that by accounting for Jos Tomlinson as well.

Sam Kearns (12) hit a huge six into the hedges, but was then caught going for another big hit. Requiring just 14 to win, the experienced Frost (8 not out) joined Evans (8 not out) at the wicket and his composure eased the pressure.

Evans finally found the middle of the bat, striking one through the covers to see Congresbury home with seven overs to spare.

Congresbury will travel to Timsbury on Saturday.

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