WEPL Premier One Second XI

Bridgwater II 208-9 beat Taunton Deane 207-8 by one wicket

BRIDGWATER II maintained their lead at the top of Premier One by the smallest of margins with a narrow one wicket victory at Taunton Deane on Saturday.

A fantastic final wicket stand between Tom Pople (33no) and Matt Habberfield (12no) saw their side to an unlikely victory, as an indifferent display by the seconds nearly cost them dear.

Bowling first, Bridgwater struggled to get a foothold in the game as the Deane's early batsmen found the boundary and rotated the strike with ease on a good wicket and lightning outfield.

Ed Habberfield (2-36) made the breakthrough for the visitors, however the Deane looked on course for a big score at 120-2 after 26 overs, with some poor fielding not helping Bridgwater's cause.

The game changed somewhat when Deane skipper Burgess had to retire hurt, and this allowed Matt Habberfield (2-40), Scott Clapp (2-27) and Ian Higgins (2-45) to each pick up a brace of wickets as the home side stumbled to 177 for 9 with five overs remaining.

However, Deane's final pair gave their side a lifeline with an unbroken stand of 30 as the first innings finished on 207-8.

When Bridgwater started their innings Liam Kitch looked in sublime form playing a typically hard hitting innings to get Bridgwater off to a flier - however they were to lose Sealey, Whitemore and Witts cheaply to put the game in the balance at 50-3 from eight overs.

Andrew Skidmore joined Kitch and this pair shared a good partnership in quick time before Kitch fell caught at slip for 41.

This brought another collapse as Habberfield and Clapp didn't last long, and the visitors were now up against it at 120- 6.

With 57 required Skidmore (55) played on to a decent delivery and the Deane sensed a win as they picked up two more wickets for 31 runs leaving Habberfield and Pople with a lot to do.

The final pair showed nerves of steel as they gradually nurdled and nudged their side closer to the victory line, drawing on all their experience and skill - the final run coming through a wide to loud cheers from the visiting side.

## The seconds would like to thank umpire Alan Prowse, Scorer Andrea Taylor, Match Ball Sponsors TMB Patterns Ltd and Match Travel Sponsors Falcon Vehicle Solutions and Higos Insurance Services Ltd.