CHARLTON DOWN 114ao (8pts) lost to WITCHAMPTON 118-9 (17pts) by one wicket

WITCHAMPTON eked out a nailbiting one-wicket victory over Charlton Down with just six balls to spare in a low-scoring contest in County Division Two.

Witchamptom elected to bowl and Chris Vaughan (0-16) and Ricky Hempsted (2-14) made the Charlton Down batsmen graft for every run, and at the halfway stage were struggling on 36-4.

Hempsted struck having Jae Miller caught pulling the ball onto his helmet to short fine leg for one, while Jack Eveleigh was batting solidly but was caught and bowled for 13 for Hempsted’s second wicket.

Matt Stevens and Roger Frapwell dug in but Stevens was adjudged leg before wicket for eight off Henry Cossins (1-8) and then Frapwell followed for seven, bowled by Stefan Taylor (2-24).

Kim Park and James Pretty added 19 runs for the fifth wicket before Pretty was out lbw for 15.

Park (8) and Gill then added a quickfire 34 and the innings seemed to be recovering until Park’s 70-minute stay at the crease came to an end being caught by Marc Hayter on the square leg boundary trying to force the pace.

Gill (26) then followed one run later when the score was 90-7.

However, Kieran Heath (13) and Mark Homewood (9) added 23 runs in as many balls and pushed the score to 113, and with both batsmen being caught closed the innings on 114.

With the Witches only needing 115 for victory, it was important for Charlton to strike early and Homewood (2-29) obliged bowling both Mark Bennett (4) and Adam Croker (4) with only 16 on the board.

Stevens had bowled his first seven overs for just seven runs. The match winning dogged partnership came from Martin Ashford (14) and Dan Bartram (32) batting 25 overs for just 46 runs.

The pressure grew on the batsmen and it was Pretty (2-19) who removed Bartram, well caught by Lewis Harrington 62-3 which soon became 64-4 when Rich Fagence (1-15) had Ashford lbw for 14 completing his near two-hour stint at the crease.

The match took a huge swing towards Charlton when Pretty (2-19) bowled Hempstead for nine and then Kim Park (1-17) had Gavin Wayman (1) brilliantly caught at slip by Eveleigh.

The returning Stevens (2-7) then bowled both Cossins (0) and Vaughan (1) and the game looked finished at 77-8.

Stewart Hibberd and Taylor added 24 runs before the former was bowled by Harrington (1-11) with the score on 101-9.

It was left to Taylor (19) and captain Hayter (6) to inch towards the winning line as the overs began to run out. It was Hayter who with six balls remaining edged the ball for four to bring up a nailbiting one-wicket victory.