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Frome cricketers bounce back after agonising one run defeat

Frome first XI fell to their first defeat of the season in agonising fashion on Saturday 7th June. 

Having been restricted to 140-9, and despite a heroic effort by the bowlers to reduce Staplegrove to 79-7, they eventually lost by one wicket.

Having won the toss, Frome made the positive decision to bat first and openers Paul Sanger and Stonell were watchful against the testing Bishop and Mazarabani.

They lost their first wicket in the sixth over when Stonell was trapped LBW, before Bleakley was caught behind soon after leaving them 19-2.

Sanger soon found his form, striking Bishop to the boundary several times, and having seen him off David Dredge struck two boundaries himself off the newly-introduced Read. But then disaster struck as Sanger was bowled by Read for 27, and soon after Dredge dragged the ball onto his stumps for 13.

With the score at 64-4, Smith and Dan Dredge set about rebuilding. But just as they looked to get a partnership together Dredge was adjusted LBW to a ball which simply shot along the ground, and Lewis followed – stumped after advancing down the wicket.

With the score just past 100 they lost further wickets when Smith (30) was smartly caught and bowled by Pantling, before Neal (7) was bowled and Wheeler (3) caught at short-mid-wicket.

Only a 29 run last-wicket partnership between Hamblin (6*) and Mark Sanger (21*) – which including a big six from Sanger – got Frome up to 140-9 from their 50 overs.

Frome knew they would have to take early wickets to have any chance of making a game of it, and with the score on 7 they made their first breakthrough as Pantling edged Neal to the keeper. All of a sudden this became 35-3 as the same bowled trapped the dangerous Sizer LBW before Wheeler dismissed Bishop (21). Both Frome openers were now in full swing and a further Wheeler wicket saw the score reach 42-4 by the time their spells were complete and it was well and truly game on.

The introduction of Bleakley then paid dividends immediately as Reed was smartly caught by Stonell to give Frome a fifth wicket. A small partnership then ensued as Mazarabania and Bird played sensible, before Bleakley dismissed both in quick succession to leave Frome on the brink at 79-7.

But from there the wickets dried up, as chances didn’t quite go to hand, appeals were turned down and Staplegrove’s J Pantling and Sutton took the total past 100 as Frome rang the bowling changes but couldn’t find the breakthrough. With the score at 131-7, just nine needed and the game now looking to have passed Frome by, the returning Neal picked up the scalp of Pantling for an excellent 27. Just one run later the returning Wheeler bowled Sutton to leave Staplegrove 8 runs short with just one wicket remaining.

But despite Frome throwing everything at them, including a dropped chance at slip, it wasn’t to be their day as Staplegrove got themselves over the line by just one wicket.

Frome First XI put the disappointment of defeat behind them to emphatically get back to winning ways with a seven-wicket demolition of Bishops Lydeard on Saturday.

Lydeard skipper Burke won the toss and elected to bat on what looked a decent wicket, but Frome’s bowlers ripped through the top order. With the score on eight, Wheeler struck removing Stone LBW, before eight runs later inducing Sapey into an edge behind.

Both Wheeler and Neal were causing problems and Neal made it 30-3 by having Clark smartly caught by Bleakley at cover. And it was soon 37-4 as Wheeler again found the edge to provide stand-in ‘keeper Dan Dredge with a second catch.

Taylor and Hayward were putting together a useful partnership  before Hamblin was trapped by Taylor (26) LBW, who 12 runs later had Burke (3) brilliantly caught one-handed by Neal at slip. The home side were now reeling at 73-6.

Hamblin finished his 10 overs with superb figures of 2-10, and the introduction of Bleakley delivered the key wicket as Hayward edged behind for 18. In his next over Bleakley trapped Thomas LBW and bowled Parkman in consecutive balls, both for a duck. At 98-9 two extra bonus points were on offer for Frome if they could bowl Lydeard out for under 120, and despite a 19-run last wicket partnership Bleakley delivered by bowling Breakwell (15) to cap another fine performance by Frome’s bowling attack.

Frome suffered an early setback when Sanger (2) was caught and bowled mistiming a bouncer from Parkman. Stonell and Bleakley looked to settled any Frome nerves, before Bleakley drove a full-toss straight back to the bowler Hayward and was caught and bowled for 18.

David Dredge joined the dependable Stonell and moved the score past 50 and when David Dredge took a Hayward over for 12 the fielding side began to fall flat. They were given a brief lift when Stonell was adjudged LBW to Burke at 77-3, but Dan Dredge joined his cousin intent on taking Frome over the line.

Together they took the score past 100, each finding the boundary with smart drives, and eventually took Frome to a deserved seven wicket victory and 20 points which takes them clear again at the top of the Somerset Division.

This Saturday the First XI return to home action when they host third-placed Butleigh in another big game.