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Thorns seal promotion after emphatic win

Details of a special Saturday at the Ship

On Saturday afternoon, Thornbury took on Hatherley & Reddings at the Ship, knowing that the WEPL Prem 2 Glos/Wilts title was within touching distance. A win here along with favourable results elsewhere would ensure that Thornbury returned to WEPL Prem 1 for the first time in 10 years. The visitors also had something to play for, knowing there was a chance they could be relegated if other results went against them. Captain Marc Lezar won the toss and elected to bat first, knowing a score of 225+ was a minimum requirement in order to get full batting points.

Thornbury openers Marc Lezar and Chris Dent got the team off to a very strong start, scoring regular boundaries as Thornbury began to build a big total. Hatherley varied their approach with spin at one end from the outset, but to no avail. 1st change bowler Robert Dent struck early in his spell however, removing Marc for 25 (26 balls) with a well-executed yorker. Dan Lezar came in at 67-1 and played himself in whilst the boundaries started to flow more regularly for Dent, who reached 50 from 35 deliveries. They put on 64 for the 2nd wicket, before Dan was bowled by Robert Dent for 23.

At 131-2 with Dent and new batsman Jack Taylor at the crease, the platform had been set for a big total on a fairly flat pitch. The total passed 150 in the 22nd over and in the next over Dent reached his 100 from 68 balls as the Hatherley bowlers saw their deliveries sent to all parts of the ground. Taylor started to find his rhythm and the 100 partnership between the pair came up in 62 balls as the total passed 250. Dent went passed 150 and was eventually caught at mid-off for a superb 165 from 104 deliveries, including 21 x 4, 6 x 6. The score was 270-3 from 33 overs, with Taylor not out on 50* from 37. Josh Riggs fell for 4, which brought Josh Slade to the crease who joined Taylor.

For those in attendance, they were about to witness a destructive masterclass from Taylor who was starting to deal exclusively in boundaries. The highlight of the innings was the 38th over, which saw Taylor take 31 from it, including 5 x 6’s from the first five deliveries. It took him 17 balls to convert his 50 into 100 and 19 deliveries to turn his 100 into 150. It was truly a sight to behold watching the mid-wicket and straight boundaries peppered on such a regular occasion. Thornbury ended on 423-5 from 45 overs, with Taylor unbeaten on 188* from 87 balls, including a ridiculous 16 x 4 and 14 x 6. Now attention turned to bowling the visitors out and securing maximum bowling points, with a further two points on offer if this could be achieved before Hatherley reached 120.

Tom Bradley opened the bowling with Danny Slade and there was success from the off. Bradley pitched one up to Britto who edged behind to Sam Summerfield after a booming drive, Hatherley 0-1 after 1. Sladey picked up the next two wickets, with Gamage pulling a short delivery to Taylor at mid-wicket for 2 and then Dawson was trapped LBW for 9. Hatherley were reeling on 17-3 and there was more to come. Tom Hage was the next to go, after his drive was caught by Danny Slade at gully to give Bradders his 2nd. Slade & Bradley shared the next four wickets which all fell in quick succession to restrict Hatherley to 39-8. Bradders (9-2-34-4) & Sladey (9-3-18-4) finished their spells and ensured the core damage was done.

Harry Wormwell and Jack Taylor entered the attack and looked to wrap up proceedings. News from around the grounds meant that if Thornbury bowled Hatherley out for under 120 runs, then the title would be heading to Thornbury. Those two extra points were looking all-important, with Corsham nearing a similar feat in their match. Thornbury went about their business in pursuit of a prompt finish, but there was a stubborn fight back from Hatherley.

Joel Frost and Max Kelly began to frustrate the home team and both comfortably scored the most runs for Hatherley as they entered the 20’s. The total neared 90, before Frost was bowled by Taylor’s leg-spin for a well-made 26. Number 11 bat Paul Gorick scored some handy runs down the order in the reverse fixture in late June, but couldn’t replicate that on Saturday. Taylor had him bowled for 0, leaving Hatherley all out for 93 as huge cheers were let out around the ground. A comprehensive 330-run victory was secured for Thornbury but more importantly, 22 league points were secured leaving Thornbury as WEPL Prem 2 Glos/Wilts Champions 2021!

An unbeaten August was required and that’s exactly what the boys provided and they showed great character after the defeat to Stroud in late July. To only lose 3 matches all season is a superb feat and one that the lads can take great pride from. WEPL Prem 1 cricket will be a whole new challenge, not to mention many a long away day, but it’s where the club deserves to be after toiling away for many a season in Prem 2. Many thanks to the huge amount of people that came to support the team on Saturday, it was great to see so many faces at the club alongside the regulars who travel far and wide to support the boys every Saturday. It was a special day for the club.

Roll on Prem 1!

Thanks also to Peter Smith from Smifsports for covering the game on Saturday. He has produced a vast amount of high quality photos, (including the cover photo of this article) capturing all aspects of the day, which can be viewed HERE.

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