Saturday XI vs Great Bedwyn
Great Bedwyn 204-8 45 overs
Bears 200-8 45 overs
The Bears suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time since June 2014 as they finished agonisingly short of Great Bedwyn’s 204-8 at the latter’s picturesque ground.
In his post-match news conference, skipper Mark Gunning was keen to downplay early talk of a relegation battle, pointing to an improved performance from his team in the first ever meeting between the Bears and Bedwyn.
In a game of fine margins, it was perhaps the toss that proved to be the crucial factor, with the home side undoubtably getting the better of the conditions as they posted a competitive total on a decent batting surface.
After a brisk start, Bedwyn were pegged back by the metronomic medium pace of Henry Smith (9-3-18-2) and the occasional off spin of the versatile Jay-as Morris (9-1-27-2), both ably assisted by the lightning fast hands of Sam Vesey behind the stumps.
As Bedwyn’s innings progressed towards it conclusion, underpinned largely by Richard Bosson’s excellent 67, another of the Bath University scientists, Joe De Souza ensured that the Bears would be left with an attainable target; the engineering undergraduate returning 2-24 at the death.
After tea the increasingly heavy skies began to yield a light drizzle which persisted throughout much of the Bears’ response, freshening up the pitch for the home side’s bowlers and markedly slowing down the previously slick outfield.
But despite the gloom and the early loss of Charlie Samler, Gunners and Captain Jack Mainwaring lay the foundation for the run chase until Jack departed for a hard fought 22. Gunning and Chris Bence then added 59 for the third wicket as the Bears reached 126-2 after 33 overs, but the loss of the skipper for a superb 71 and debutant Murray Reid five runs later left the visitors needing 75 from the last 10 overs.
Bence and Henry managed to halve that target before Bencey was bowled for 36. The equation was now 37 runs from 27 balls, but a couple of frugal overs left the Bears requiring 21 from the last 12 deliveries. 10 from the penultimate over set up a grandstand finish; but some inspired fielding from Bedwyn’s Rob Palmer frustrated the Bears in the 45th and final over as the home side closed out a narrow victory.
Next week the Bears take on old adversaries Avebury at The Glasshouse as they seek to take inspiration from their Sunday XI counterparts who recorded an emphatic win over Easton Cowboys yesterday.