Saturday XI vs Burbage & Easton Royal 2s
Burbage 234-8 45 overs
Bears 232-7 45 overs
A trek to the furthest reaches of east Wiltshire failed to bear fruit as the Bears suffered an agonising two run defeat at Burbage & Easton Royal.
Batting first, the home side’s 234-8 from their 45 overs didn’t look to be an insurmountable total on a ground with short boundaries on three sides; though it could have been a much tougher target for the Bears after the classy Rhys Davies (43) had got Burbage off to a flier. However, after the impressive Paul Wood (1-31) had removed Davies, the Bears got the better of the middle over exchanges as the run rate was pulled back to under four an over. But Burbage’s final 10 over surge proved to be decisive as Garreth Robb blasted his way to 64 to take the score on past 200. Ross Newman and Shreyas Malhotra with three and two wickets respectively helped the Bears to claim four bowling bonus points. Ashwin Agrawal was excellent behind the stumps.
After a fine tea, the home side’s one hospitable gesture of the day, the Bears set about their chase. Chris Bence and Mark Gunning had put on 65 for the first wicket before a needless run out claimed Bence for 43. This precipitated a flurry of quick wickets as Newman, Gunning (34) and Sam Vesey’s departures left the Bears struggling at 95-4. Enter Ashwin, Shreyas’ young prodigy, who proceeded to take the attack to Burbage; a series of towering sixes, each one greeted enthusiastically by Mentor Malhotra, giving the Bears a sniff of victory. Ably assisted by Jack Mainwaring (28), Ash passed 50 before departing LBW; and despite a late flourish from Andy Strange (29*), which left the Bears requiring four from the final ball for victory, alas it was not meant to be, a scrambled single leaving the visitors two runs short.