WOOTTON Bassett captain Darren Beasant was happy his side enjoyed the perfect preparation to this weekend’s top-of-the-table showdown with Malmesbury, as they edged out Bradford-on-Avon by six wickets.
Bassett were made to work hard for their 21 points at Ryland’s Way, as Bradford’s stiff resistance took the visitors to 185-8 from their 45 overs, before an unbeaten half-century from Beasant helped his team home with 14 balls to spare.
The Bassett captain said: “We were pleased with it. We were put under some pressure. We were probably put under more pressure this weekend than we have been for some weeks.
“It was a positive in that it was nice to be tested with a big game coming up, for some of the guys to get time in the middle, get a few runs and take wickets. We’re doing it by default at the minute - putting teams in and chasing them down.
“We can’t win it on Saturday but we can certainly lose it and in that respect it was a good test. You play sport because you want to be competitive.”
Meanwhile, Malmesbury maintained their narrow lead at the top of Division One with a five-wicket win over Box.
Jess Richman (52 not out) and Richard Foley (43) put runs on the board for Box but Malmesbury’s Richard Gaunt turned the screw, taking 5-44 to restrict the visitors to 186-7.
Despite Box’s Richard Sanchez taking three wickets, Malmesbury’s James Pearce-Smith led the charge with an unbeaten 44, with opener James Gillespie also chipping in with 42 as the home side reached 188-5 early in the 42nd over.
Urchfont beat Swindon Civil Service by 74 runs, with David Bromley (79) and Morlon Simon (69) finding their range as the third-placed villagers posted 254-7.
Cosmo Cupid and Will Hams then took three wickets apiece to skittle Swindon for 180 midway through the 39th over.
Elsewhere, Beanace & Melksham finally got back to winning ways as they inflicted yet another defeat on bottom-of-the-table Collingbourne.
Beanacre lost an early wicket but skipper Dean Wallington (28) and Paul Gilbert (41) took the attack to the bowlers and after Wallington departed with the score on 56, which brought Ben Brown to the crease, there was no let up in the onslaught.
Brown top-scored with 69 to help the visitors reach 229 before they were dismissed and Collingbourne were soon struggling, with John Wiltshire ripping through the middle order, taking 6-40 in seven overs to skittle the home side for 163 in the 40th over.
Lacock gave Division Two leaders Beckington a run for their money but eventually fell to a narrow three-run defeat at home.
The visitors posted 188-8, with Leigh Rogers and Ian Jeffery taking 4-48 and 3-26 respectively, whilst Steve Copland (42) and Jeffery (38) did their best to pull off an upset for Lacock.
But time ran out for the hosts, with Beckington’s Josh Dwight (4-45) doing just enough to derail the run chase, with Lacock falling short as they could only reach 185-9.
Corsham 4th suffered a crushing 197-run defeat at Lambourn in Division Four, with the home side’s Chris Aubrey blowing away the visitors with a knock of 163.
Lambourn posted a mammoth 307-6 before dismissing Corsham for just 110 midway through the 31st over, with Paul Annetts claiming a monster seven wickets for 29 runs.
Im Division Six, Burbage & Easton Royal 3rd kept the heat on league leaders Lacock 2nd with a ten-wicket demolition of Swindon NALGO 2nd.
Nick Cranston took 6-36 whilst John Wheeler took 3-12 as NALGO crumbled, with the hosts all out for a lowly 89 in the 25th over.
Craig Simmons then hit an unbeaten 62 as Burbage chased down their target without loss, in little over 16 overs.
Lacock 2nd are just two points ahead after their own sizeable victory, with the villagers beating Marshfield 3rd by nine wickets.
Cliff Thompsett filled his boots as he ended with figures of 5-25, with Marshfield restricted to 130-9 before Alan Davies (62) and Mark Simmons (54 not out) helped Lacock reach 134-1
MORE SPORTS NEWS, PICTURES AND REACTION IN THIS THURSDAY’S GAZETTE AND HERALD AND THIS FRIDAY’S WILTSHIRE TIMES. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport AND @WTSport