Tom finishes with a flourish

IT was the final game of the season at the Memorial Playing Field and Nailsea 2nds chose to bat first on a dry but grassy wicket.

IT was the final game of the season at the Memorial Playing Field and Nailsea 2nds chose to bat first on a dry but grassy wicket.

Three maidens in quick succession were followed by the removal of both Nailsea opening batsmen. Simon Hopkinson was first to go, bowled by Haydon who finished with figures of 1 for 27 off his 13 overs.

The early wickets brought Mark Barnes and David Blower to the crease and the pair set about rebuilding the innings. Having seen off the opening bowlers, they looked comfortable as they each moved into the twenties. But both men went to soft dismissals, leaving Nailsea having to rebuild once again. Barnes (20), having looked in no trouble at all, miscued a pull straight to mid wicket and Blower was stumped for 25.

Tom Hicks came in at five. New to the club this year and averaging 69 prior to this match, the unorthodox right hander quickly found his feet. Chris Thackray (15) came and went at six in entertaining style, dispatching three crisply struck boundaries before one more attempt saw him caught off the bowling of Phil Thorn. Hicks and Gregg Howett put together an invaluable sixth-wicket partnership to help post a competitive total, before Howett was stumped for 27, Thorn (3-40) benefiting from the the batsmen's will to attack.

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Hicks saw the innings through with a well crafted 52 not out as Nailsea reached 180-8 off their allotted 45 overs.

So Nailsea had something to bowl at and came out of the traps flying after tea. The atmosphere was electric in the field, with no signs of an end of season wind down about to occur.

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Mike Broadhead ripped through the Old Bristolians top order with three early wickets. Two catches for Mark Barnes removed James Domone (4) and Paul Snelling (0). Adam Graveney then came an went quickly, trapped leg before for 3 to leave Nailsea well on top.

At the other end, Robert Cunliffe had been struggling with Marcus Gater's excellent bowling outside off stump. But he and new man Steve Jacobs began to find their feet. The opening bowlers began to tire and the Old Bristolians batsman were quick to seize on any loose deliveries.

Nailsea had gone into the game lacking an extra recognised seamer, and so turned to their reliable spin pair of Harry Hope and Ian Sherreard. However, the slowness of the pitch meant any turn was fairly easy to negotiate and Cunliffe and Jacobs each made their way to 50 as the target was gradually reduced.

With little assistance for the spinners, the Nailsea skipper called on the almost forgotten talents of part-time seamer Mark Barnes, who was quickly into his rhythm and, with the game beginning to drift away, began to reduce the run flow. Hope finally found some magic to dismiss Cunliffe, stumped by Adam Blower.

Incoming Kerry Lock pounced on any width offered, and with 12 overs remaining the real turning point occurred. Lock cut Hope out through the covers and, in the chase to prevent the boundary, Nailsea skipper David Blower felt his hamstring snap and collapsed in pain. So, with only four runs an over required, the fielding side found themselves down to 10 men and without their captain.

Barnes (1-13 off 7 overs) had not given up and continued with his remarkable economy before having Steve Lings caught and bowled. OBs had failed to reduce the required rate and the opening bowlers returned to try and produce some late drama.

It was ebb and flow in the final stages and with two over remaining Old Bristolians required 11 to win. However, Broadhead (3-44) could not reproduce his earlier heroics and Richard Haydon (22) chanced his arm, finishing the game in style with a six over long on.

Nailsea hosted their annual Club Day on Sunday at the Grove Sports Centre. The day was a great success with a superb turn out of players and families, young and old, past and present.

A few clouds could not cast a shadow on the cricketing extravaganza, with nine seven-a-side matches, a fathers v sons contest, kwik cricket and lively game of rounders.

A team of local footballers from Nailsea United, a few with previous cricket experience, threatened to upset the odds in the final. However, the cricket club maintained their pride as former captain Gareth Dann's side ultimately won the day, following a tense semi-final bowl off against fellow veteran Simon Hopkinson.

Nailsea hope to start their winter net sessions shortly at the new Nailsea School facility and would encourage anyone interested in joining to come along and see what the club has to offer. For further updates and more information, visit

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