WITCHAMPTON SECONDS 78 (2pts) lost to CHARLTON DOWN 79-2 (20pts) by 8 wickets

PRE-MATCH thunder, lightning and rain could not stop an emphatic eight-wicket victory for Charlton Down.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Roles produced an excellent all-round performance, claiming five wickets for only four runs, taking a catch and then smashing 62 not out in his side’s Division Five triumph.

Charlton Down won the toss and soon had the first Witch-ampton batsman back in the pavilion with only four runs on the board as Rich Fagence (2-15) took a smart return catch.

Fagence only conceded 15 runs from his seven overs and showed how important it is to have experience in a team of predominately young and improving players learning their trade.

A double strike by 16-year-old Matt Stevens left Witchampton reeling and Fagence struck again, bowling the dangerous Vaughan to leave the score on 22-4 after only four overs.

One of Stevens’ wickets included a towering catch at deep cover by younger brother, debutant Dan, which left him needing treatment for a bloody nose.

Buller and Coomer steadied the innings and took the score to 59 before the introduction of Roles (4-5) tempted Buller (24) to drive the ball straight to the returning Dan Stevens at cover.

Kim Park bowled at a hostile pace off a reduced run up and in the next over he removed Coomer thanks to a fantastic one-handed diving catch behind the stumps by Matt Venn.

Witchampton’s 60-6 soon be-came 62-9 as Roles bowled the next three batsmen in one over.

Fittingly, it was Roles who had the last batsman caught by Dan Stevens, who claimed a hat-trick of catches on his debut – he also bowled two overs for only four runs and was unlucky not to pick up a wicket.

The Charlton Down run chase was completed in the 15th over as Roles punished any ball which was slightly off line.

Roles stroked 10 boundaries all around the wicket and reached his half-century in only 37 balls, ending unbeaten on 62.

Luke and Nick Voss aided the run chase by playing sensibly and getting Roles on strike as much as possible.

Home team captain Pete Tucker said: “I was concerned that with the horrendous weather we had had in the morning we might not get a game in.

“However, all credit to the Witchampton team who were as keen as us to play some cricket.

“Obviously, Sam Roles played superbly and produced a match-winning performance, but it was great to see Dan Stevens make his debut, take three excellent catches and bowl with good control.

“There was a great display behind the stumps from Matt Venn, who has stepped into the team over the holiday period and caught a brilliant low one-handed catch off Kim Park.

“Also, the tight bowling from Rich Fagence set the tone for the team’s bowling performance – what a role model to have in any team.”