WITCHAMPTON 160-3 (20pts) beat SHAFTESBURY 168ao (4pts) by seven wickets *reduced target of 158

WITCHAMPTON produced a fine display of batting as they comprehensively beat Shaftesbury by seven wickets, finished top of Division Two and secured promotion to Division One for the first time in the club’s history.

Before the start of play, the hosts knew that four points would gain them automatic promotion and captain Adam Croker won the toss and chose to field in bowler-friendly conditions with overcast weather and rain expected in the first hour.

Gavin Wayman (2-33) made an early breakthrough by picking up the wicket of Rawlinson for a duck.

After 8.1 overs, rain began to fall and forced the players off for a quarter of an hour, but the short break did not seem to break Wayman’s stride as he bowled the Shaftesbury captain for 16.

The dangerous Aled Williams (47), who was aiming to be the top run scorer in Division Two, was scoring freely through the covers with ease and a partnership with Thomas Boatwright (20) started to cause problems for Witchampton.

Croker (4-26) decided to go to his trusted slow bowler in Stewart Hibberd (2-20) who rewarded his skipper with the wicket of Boatwright and not too soon after Lawrence Yeo (9) as well.

After a quick flurry of wickets which included the all-important eighth wicket by Stefan Taylor (1-44) which guaranteed Witchampton’s place in Division One next year, they now set their sights on winning the game to be crowned champions.

Shaftesbury were finally dismissed in the final over for a respectable score of 168.

After consulting with the umpires, both captains agreed that Witchampton would have to chase 158 off 40 overs due to loss of overs during Shaftesbury’s innings.

The hosts’ reply started off well until Andy Chambers (9) chipped to mid-on.

Croker (78no) came to the crease on the back of a half-century the match before and he continued his fine form by cracking three boundaries in the first over he faced.

Martin Ashford (17) and Mark Hopkins fell in quick succession and Shaftesbury began to believe they could spoil the celebrations for Witchampton.

Wayman (38no) joined Croker in the middle with 75 runs needed off 16 overs, and the pair continued to chip away at the score with some excellent running in between the wickets and some glorious hits which reached the boundary.

With six overs to go, 13 was needed and Wayman hit two consecutive fours to leave only five to win the game and in true style, he hit the next ball for a huge six to spark jubilant scenes not just in the middle but by the pavilion from the rest of the players.

After the game, Witches’ captain Croker said: “It’s been a fabulous effort by everyone this season and we definitely deserved to be promoted but to win the division as well was the icing on the cake.”


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