TAILENDER Trevor Lloyd and captain Lee Ward held their nerve to earn Chippenham promotion from Premier Two Glos/Wilts at the weekend, after they defeated title rivals Thornbury by two wickets.

It marks the second time Chippenham have earned promotion in as many seasons, following their triumph in WEPL Wiltshire last season, and means they will play in the region’s highest tier – Premier One – next year.

Ward’s troops did it the hard way, though, by making tough work of chasing down Thornbury’s total of 132.

Men of the moment Lloyd and Ward put on a ninth-wicket partnership of 23 to get Chippenham over the line and seal promotion.

Skipper Ward said: “We knew Prem Two Glos/Wilts was going to be a tough league – we wanted to re-establish ourselves, first and foremost.

“We’re not going into Premier One with any expectations of repeating something similar.

“There won’t be any pressure on us as a team, no other team will expect anything from us.

“We’ll all stick together, and at the moment there is a great spirit in the team. I think it’s that team spirit that got us over the line.”

Despite being in the driving seat during the interval on Saturday, Chippenham were reduced to 35-4 in their pursuit of 133 to win.

However, a match-winning knock of 40 from Ralph Hardwick ultimately guided Ward’s men to their target.

Victory meant Chippenham won the league by 13 points, and Ward afterwards paid tribute to Thornbury’s class in defeat.

He said: “Thornbury were gracious in defeat – credit to them as a club.

“A lot of their players have congratulated us since. Thornbury made it a really nice occasion for everyone.

“It was a real rollercoaster game, and we were happy at half way having bowled them out for 132. But things ebbed and flowed after that.

“It was a case of staying in and grinding it out. It was pleasing to be out in the middle when we got over the line, eventually.”

Elsewhere, Trowbridge’s relegation to WEPL Wiltshire was confirmed despite Tom Weaver’s side picking up a one-wicket win at home to Corsham.

In a match reduced to 38 overs per side, Corsham posted 165-7 as opener Richard Foley hit 64.

Tom Oakley then led a successful Trowbridge reply as his 65 led the hosts to 171-9 with 10 balls to spare.

Goatacre’s Joe King hit a century as his side signed off with a 83-run win at home to Burbage & Easton Royal.

King (118) was supported by Joe Breet (51) as the Goats racked up a monster 364 all out as James Lavis took 6-78 for Burbage.

John Riekert hit 112 in reply but figures of 4-54 from Bradley Dawson saw Burbage dismissed for 279.

Finally, Biddestone went down by 65 runs away at Stroud.

Louis Gegg’s unbeaten 74 led Stroud to 189-6 and Islamnabi Ahmadzai claimed 4-20 after tea to bowl the Biddestone reply out for 125.