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Cricket: Butleigh crushed by massive 234 runs

Records tumbled as Frome First XI crushed fourth-placed Butleigh to continue their strong start to the 2014 campaign on Saturday 21st June.

On a scorching hot day at Fromefield the home side won the toss and had no hesitation in batting. The new opening partnership of David Dredge and Paul Sanger were aggressive from the start, dispatching anything wayward Frome the Butleigh opening bowlers.

With 10 overs gone the score was already 69-0, and despite Butleigh ringing the bowling changes the pattern continued as Sanger and Dredge continued at ease. The pair brought up their 100 partnership inside 14 overs, and had already set Frome the ideal platform for what looked to be an imposing total. Sanger passed a fluent 50, and Dredge looked set to do the same when at 129 he was bowled advancing to the spin of Bilsborough for a well-made 45.

They brought together Bleakley and Sanger, and the pair began a partnership that had been threatened many times before but never fulfilled. In the next 10 overs they ran the Butleigh fielders ragged, stealing singles and taking two’s to almost every boundary fielder. At the halfway point the score had reached 158-1 and Frome looked set to post an imposing total, but knew they’d have to on a wicket appearing to offer little help for the bowlers. Bleakley reached 50 without appearing to have taken a risk, and the 200 came up as Butleigh turned to bowler number seven to try and make the breakthrough.

Sanger and Bleakley were now regularly taking 9 or 10 from each over, and Sanger brought up a deserved hundred to rapturous applause from a sizeable home crowd. Thoughts were now turning to a second declaration of the season, as both Frome batsmen were now flaying the bowling to all parts of the ground. Bleakley then reached three figures himself, the score moved passed 250 and then 300 and the pair had put on a partnership of 150.

Finally the partnership came to an end when Sanger was run out for a majestic 131, and Smith joined Bleakley who was now striking fours and sixes at will. Smith struck a four and a six of his own and in the 45th over – knowing a declaration was coming – Bleakley struck several boundaries to move to a superb 150, before Smith skied a catch to deep-mid-wicket of the final ball to leave Frome on a massive 382-3 declared in just 44.5 overs – a record score for a Frome side in recent memory.

In reply a Butleigh faced what was a nigh on impossible task but, to their credit came out swinging. This played into the hands of Neal whose excellent control made him more difficult to get away than any bowler on the day. He picked up two early wickets to leave Butleigh 18-2, and then produced a beauty to bowl Hicks. Shortly after Neal completed an deserved five-wicket Haul as he had Parnell and Weston both caught in the cordon.

There were more milestones to come however. Mark Sanger replaced Wheeled’s brief spell, and as the Butleigh batters came after the leg-spinner this too played into his hands. Despite a few early sixes, Frome had plenty of runs to play with, and Sanger’s persistence was rewarded with two quick wickets as he bowled Edmonson and Drew.

Brearery was providing the only real resistance for Butleigh, as he struck several sixes. But with the game long over Sanger was still hungry for wickets, and had Durston caught in the gully by his brother, before a brilliant low catch by Gullock gave him a fourth wicket to leave Butleigh 98-9.

Only a dogged 51-run last-wicket partnership denied from a further two bonus points. But shortly after bringing up a well-made 50, Sanger got his man and a deserved five-for, having Brearey caught at slip.

Frome ran out winners by a massive 234 runs, in a match where two of their batters made hundreds and two bowlers finished with five wickets apiece.

Frome remain top of the Somerset Division and hope to maintain their good form in future matches.