GOATACRE came up agonisingly short of a landmark total on Saturday as they scored 498-6 in their WEPL Premier Two Glos/Wilts clash against Stroud – the joint-15th highest team total in a limited-overs match anywhere in the world ever, writes JONATHAN LEIGHFIELD.

However, they still had the consolation of victory by a mere 250 runs.

Needing 24 off the final over to reach a quite incredible score of 500, captain Ed Wilkins struck two sixes and a four to put his side within touching distance.

But with three required from the final ball, Wilkins could only manage a single leg-bye from the 300th delivery and Goatacre fell agonisingly short.

Opener Jack Haines had got the home side off to a flyer, striking 157 from just 77 balls – an innings that featured 18 fours and 13 sixes – while Toby Horton, who was making his first-team debut for the season, smashed 167 off 89 balls with 21 fours and nine sixes.

Bradley Dawson chipped in with a very helpful 61 from 49 before Ross Dixie (13no) and captain Wilkins (19no) nudged the hosts towards 500.

In reply, Keegan Petersen struck the visitors’ only knock of note – a fluent 103 from 87 balls – as Joseph King took 4-62 to restrict Stroud in their unlikely chase.

Saturday’s victory kept Goatacre in the hunt for promotion in the midst of a tightly-packed table featuring a plethora of teams on four wins and two losses so far.

Wilkins’ side had scored 350 twice this year, in amongst three scores of 200 or below, hence the Goatacre skipper’s genuine surprise at what he considered to be such a freak scoreline.

He said: “Scoring 500 has never crossed our minds before, to be honest.

“A score of 400 might have been a more realistic target, because we’d never even reached that before, but we had got 350 a few times this year already.

“That was the highest league score I’ve ever been involved in, and I’ve been playing club cricket for 15 or 16 years in the first team – I’d never seen anything like it.

“It was getting a bit silly in terms of trying to find balls. We only have so many and they were disappearing to all parts.”

With England men’s one-day side becoming the number one team in the world and regularly scoring in excess of 350, Wilkins believes the ideologies of Eoin Morgan’s side is rubbing off around the club game.

Where scores of 300 used to be considered as a frightening total to chase, even as recently as the last World Cup, teams are coming out to bat with no fear thanks to new plans and tactics.

Wilkins said: “It has transferred into club cricket, that more attacking brand of cricket.

“Games are generally a lot higher scoring now. The bats are better, and players are seeing things on the TV, different shots, and they’re more confident in playing them from ball one.

“Especially, for us, we like to think we’ve got a lot of good batsmen too.

“We had good players as far down as number nine on Saturday, so we can go out and play with confidence because you’re not too worried about getting out if you know the guys behind you can get runs.

“Everything went to plan on Saturday, and everyone did what they needed to do.”