TEAM spirit and optimism guided Chippenham to the WEPL Wiltshire title on Saturday, following a season-long battle with promotion rivals Warminster and Marshfield.

Lee Ward’s men comprehensively beat Marlborough by 194 runs to earn all 20 points on offer to them, allowing them to clinch the league title by five points from second-placed Marshfield.

Like Chippenham’s fine-margin championship win suggests, the season was far from plain sailing for Ward’s troops – who had to claw back a mid-season 40-point deficit to long-time league leaders Warminster.

A spectacular collapse by Pete Hickerton’s men opened the door for Chippenham though, who will now play in Premier Two Glos/Wilts next season against sides including Goatacre, Corsham and Trowbridge.

Lifting the title made this season’s extensive efforts worthwhile for Ward, who heaped praise on his side’s team spirit and character in the aftermath of Chippenham’s final day victory.

“Things couldn’t have gone better in terms of how we played on Saturday and for the club too,” said Ward.

“We kept saying throughout the season – especially the second half – to just keep concentrating on what we could do.

“We wanted to be confident in the way that we were performing, and the team spirit we had was one of the best I’ve known for quite a while – I think that played a massive part.

“The guys kept performing and kept putting pressure on the teams around us. It paid off with the title, we’re massively pleased with that.”

Chippenham won the toss on Saturday and opted to bat with the aim of posting a large enough total after 45 overs to declare and earn extra league points should they win.

Their gamble paid off when Adeesha Nanayakkara (139) and Chris Munden (124) put on a partnership of 258 to build the perfect foundation for the home side’s middle order to kick on.

A quick-fire 42 from Ralph Hardwick guided Chippenham to a massive 359-4 from 43 overs.

Unsurprisingly, Marlborough struggled in reply and were pegged back to 165 all out – confirming Chippenham’s title win.

Ward said: “We wanted to bat first, so to win the toss was a boost. We were disappointed to lose an early wicket, but after that, Chris (Munden) and Adeesha (Nanayakkara) performed like they have done all year.

“They both put on a phenomenal partnership when the pressure was on.

“We had to be optimistic and use our team spirit to our advantage.”

Elsewhere Calne (244 all out), led by 42 each from openers Sean Adams and Jerron John, defeated Devizes (156 all out) by 88 runs, despite a half-century from Tom Andrew.

Marshfield (122-6) were four-wicket winners over Corsham 2nd (121 all out), as Jeremy Bond took four wickets and hit 46.