Weston dig deep to win dramatic league opener at Ilminster
- Credit: Neil Dopson/ND Photography
Weston were involved in a dramatic match at Ilminster to open the 2021 West of England Premier League season.
Captain Chris Davidson won the toss and elected to bat first and Ryan Davies and Jack Press got off to a rapid start, taking 42 runs off the first six overs before Davies fell for 25 runs.
Press fell three overs later for 15 and wickets then tumbled to a combination of bad luck and poor shot selection, as Weston collapsed to 95-9 off 27 overs, with James Thompson taking 5-24 off his eight overs.
This left Tahmid Ahmed and Matt Knight as the last men standing, but they took responsibility for the situation and punished any poor bowling and found gaps in the field.
Ahmed took charge and played with maturity, allowing Knight to be the aggressor as both grew in confidence.
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When Ahmed fell for 40 in the 44th over, they had put on a partnership of 109 for the last wicket, with Knight unbeaten on 54 off 56 balls.
Ilminster helped Weston to their total of 204 by bowling 40 extras, but the last-wicket partnership gave Weston a glimmer of hope for victory from the precarious position they had found themselves in.
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Weston carried this positivity into the Ilminster innings, with Knight following his half-century by taking a wicket in his first over and Pete Trego taking three wickets in two overs to reduce Ilminster to 24-4.
Ben Johnston and Josh Lee then frustrated the Weston bowling as they put on a stand of 90 but the experienced duo of Shabel Ahmed and Davidson kept the run rate under control before both batsmen fell in consecutive overs.
Johnston departed for 50, cleverly stumped by Davies off Ahmed, and Lee went for 40, caught by Alex Leeks off Davidson's bowling.
The match then started to look like it could go any way, as the Ilminster tail dug in, frustrating Weston's bowlers. But Davidson bowled Harry Montacute before the returning Trego took another wicket to finish with 4-26.
With 21 required from 18 balls, Davidson removed Thompson lbw in the 43rd over, giving him figures of 3-40 and Weston victory by 14 runs.
It saw Weston come away with 19 points despite a below-par performance and the Forte Financial players of the match was shared by Tahmid Ahmed and Knight.
Weston host Winterbourne on Saturday hoping to build on their four-game winning streak in their first home of the league season.