West of England Premier League
Somerset Division
Chard 251 beat Bridgwater 2nds 183 by 68 runs

CHARD recovered from a disastrous start with the bat to win their WEPL Somerset Division opener against Bridgwater 2nds at The Parks on Saturday.

Visitors Chard won the toss and opted to bat but lost both Reid Mawdsley and Harvey Dening to golden ducks from the first two balls of the season, leaving the score at a rather ominous 0-2.

Nathan Johnson and Jon Dalwood steadied the ship, adding 88 for the third wicket before Dalwood fell for 35.

Johnson passed his half century, making 65 before he was caught, and there were valuable contributions further down the order from the Scotts, Jonathan (41) and Chris (40).

First team debutant Niall Crouch displayed promise in his 17 and, despite Chard slipping to 188-8, Chris Scott’s contribution helped take the score past 250.

To complete an unusual symmetry to the scorecard, Ian Higgins - who had taken those early wickets with the first two balls - returned to end the innings with wickets from the final two deliveries, wrapping the innings up on 250 from exactly 50 overs.

Chard set the tone with the ball when Akhona Jeremiah Mbanga clean bowled opener Ben Coombes early, and the home batsmen struggled to keep up with the required rate.

Richard Scott (1-28 from 10) and Chris Scott (1-43 from 10) added economical spells with the ball to their valuable efforts with the bat, while the wily Jon Dalwood put the squeeze on further with 3-42 from his 10.

Plenty of Bridgwater batsmen made starts but none could progress further than Tom Bellinger’s 32 as Chard remained in control.

Mbanga returned to take the final wicket in his ninth over, ending with impressive figures of 3-19 from 8.1.

Chard claim 20 points from the victory and play their first home match of the season this Saturday, with Wembdon the visitors (12.30pm start).

This Sunday, Chard travel to Taunton Deane to take on the hosts and Yeovil in the first round of the National T20 competition; only the group winners will progress to the next round.