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Knowle CC 1st XI beat Frome CC 1st XI by four wickets – West of England Premier League, Sat 27 Jun

Frome First XI again gave everything but came up short in a fiercely-fought contest at Knowle on Saturday. Winning the toss on a scorching day, Frome opted to bat first and made a solid start, with David Dredge finding early boundaries.

Together with Paul Sanger they took the score to 34 before Dredge was unlucky to be caught down the leg side for 29. Bleakley joined Sanger and the fair continued to play in positive fashion, taking the total to 100 and building a solid platform.

In the over before the drinks break, Sanger fell to a very sharp caught and bowled for 25, leaving Frome 105-2 at the halfway stage.

Ryan Gullock joined Bleakley and the pair continued to make steady progress, before Bleakley was caught at deep-square-leg for 46, and shortly after Dan Dredge was LBW for 7.

Frome were 160-4 with 10 overs remaining and knew they had work to do to post a competitive target. But Joe Smart, together with Gullock, moved the score past 200 with some good placement and welcome boundaries, and the visitors eventually finished on 221-6 from their 50 overs, Gullock making 40 and Smart another positive 39 not out.

Although perhaps a little short of par on a high-scoring ground, Frome’s bowlers now had a target to defend, and they started tidily reducing the home side to 13-2 through two Neal wickets – both to smartly-taken catches from Dan Dredge and Paul Sanger.

But from there, Weston and Wilson put together a partnership, despite Frome turning to spin early on a wicket beginning to turn. The pair moved the score to 50 at the required rate and on from there, however just as they looked comfortable, the visitors made a double breakthrough.

Firstly Mark Sanger had Brimble again well-caught by Bleakley before in the next over Watts took an excellent low caught and bowled to leave Knowle 86-4. At the halfway stage the score was 98-4 and in the balance. Watts finished a tidy spell and was replaced by David Dredge, but Knowle took chances against the Frome spin and numerous chances wouldn’t fall to hand.

Patil struck the ball cleanly to the boundary and together with Britton they broke the back of the Frome total and appeared to have put the game beyond doubt, with 42 needed from 12 overs with six wickets remaining.

However Frome refused to give up, and Bleakley picked up the wicket of Patil (55) and then very next ball Beitton (39) and the game was back on. The returning Neal went past the edge and again numerous skied balls evaded the Frome fielders.

With two overs remaining, Knowle eventually secured a four wicket victory, Frome picking up seven points which gained ground on their nearest league rivals – Glastonbury – whom they entertain on Saturday in a crunch game.