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Frome First XI bt. Uphill Castle by 130 runs, West of England Premier League: Somerset Division, Sat 31st May

Frome First XI crushed third-placed Uphill Castle by 130 runs in the Somerset Division of the West of England Premier League on Saturday.

After winning the toss – despite the surface being very wet after recent rain – Frome took the positive decision to bat first and aim to post an imposing total, and so they did.

Openers Paul Sanger and Stonell negotiated the opening overs sensibly which was key, before cashing in on anything loose to take Frome past 40 without loss at the 10 over mark.

With the dangerous Cox out of the attack the pair put pressure on the first change bowlers and the fielders, running well between the wickets, and saw the visitors past 20 overs and through to the mid-innings drinks break with no further alarm. Sanger had reached 50 and was looking his fluent best when – first ball after the resumption – looked unlucky to be adjudged LBW for an excellent 58 leaving the score 104-1.

Bleakley joined Stonell, and together they kept Uphill under pressure and continued to set Frome a strong platform. Stonell was then bowled for a well-made 40 but Bleakley and Smith, knowing there were still 20 overs remaining, worked the ball into the gaps and ran hard taking few risks.

With the score passing 150 Frome looked to accelerate the innings but Bleakley was caught at long off, and shortly after David Dredge (7) was stumped meaning with 10 overs to go although a strong total was looking likely Frome were at risk of faltering.

But Charlie Smith’s 45, along with a quick-fire 27 not out from Dan Dredge and a brutal 15 from five balls from Lewis saw the visitors to 245-6 from their 50 overs. This looked a terrific effort from the batsmen after batting first in difficult conditions, but Frome knew they would have to start well after tea, and so they did. The opening attack of Neal and Wheeler gave nothing away and made the ball swing from early on, and the game was a long way to being over by the end of the first ten overs as Uphill slumped to 14-3 through two Wheeler wickets and a run out, whilst Neal was unlucky not to pick up a wicket himself beating the bat on numerous occasions.

There was to be no let up for the home side as the spin of Mark Sanger and Hamblin replaced the openers, and despite some lusty blows from Bliss (25) Mark Sanger held his nerve and soon had his man, before Hamblin removed Cattermole (17) and Sanger again dismissed Millard to leave the score at 51-6 and the game all but over.

This bought Uphill skipper Williams to the crease, determined to keep Frome out in the field for as long as possible, and there followed some attrition cricket where just 26 runs were scored in the next 15 overs for the loss of just one wicket.

Eventually Hamblin picked up a second scalp, and after he and Sanger had finished excellent spells – picked up two wickets each – Frome were left needing to pick up the final two wickets before the score reached 120 to collect two further bonus points. With Williams still battling away stubbornly this looked increasingly unlikely, until Bleakley bowled Disney (13), and with the score on 115 David Dredge bowled Williams (18) to give Frome victory and a deserved 22 points.

Frome are top of the table with three wins from their first four matches.

This weekend Fromefield hosts a big fixture as Frome face rivals Staplegrove, 1pm start.