Wells were left to rue some lost opportunities…
Wells welcomed Hayes to the Nevill on a hot if somewhat cloudy day, with a touch of green on the surface of the County Ground; a strongly-contested game at Barnet Wood Road had narrowly ended in favour of the home side, although Wells had done enough for the most part to win it. Here, Chris Williams won the toss and batted, and he spearheaded a remarkable assault upon the visiting attack which saw the score rocket up to 90 from just 14.2 overs. The lack of a strong start has been mentioned before in these pages during 2022, but a third fifty partnership in four matches put any such criticism far into the shade, as the skipper raced to a glittering half-century from just forty deliveries, once again given splendid support by Christian Davis, who had contributed both runs and safety as the stand flourished.
Williams (C) had reached 63 from 47 balls with 12 fours and a six when William MacVicar got one past him, with the score now 92-1 from 15.1 overs, however the dashing tempo could not be maintained, and the Hayes bowlers now began to restore any such advantage as they could. Davis motored along to 31 with 4 fours when, unexpectedly, he was caught at 110-2, and the middle order failed to dominate from this point on; the bowlers were cannily shuffled to surprisingly good effect, and the scoring slowed as the initiative passed almost imperceptibly to the bowlers. Alex Williams put together a steadying 24, but again the requisite support was sporadic; indeed, the scoring slowed so much that the tally inched from 146-3 to 174-9 in a key spell of 14 overs, and only some lively late runs ensured a second batting bonus point. The Hayes bowlers could reflect upon a massive reversal of fortune following the vintage early assault; Andrew Eddicott snapped up 3-52, with critical assistance from MacVicar and Connor Byrne, and the target set was kept down to 184. Wells left three overs unused despite another tail-end bonus from Jonny Shepherdson.
The chase was firmly based around an extraordinarily disciplined effort from wicket-keeper Gareth Severin, who batted for fully 45 overs to build a 118-ball 106 which effectively won the match for his side. Severin hit 13 fours and 2 sixes and was dismissed with just 17 runs needed for an outstanding victory. Wells broke through effectively to start with, and at one time the score stood at 96-4 from 25 overs at exactly the halfway mark in the innings. The immovable number one was on 66 from 66 deliveries at this stage, but the resolute defiance provided by Rory Low (37 from 73 balls with just 4 fours) helped to bring about a crucial 20-over fifth-wicket partnership worth 71 runs, and this effectively denied the home attack any hope of a surprise reversal of opportunities. Towards the end of his epic knock, Severin looked to offer a half chance down the leg side, but otherwise it was a remarkably error-free undertaking which effectively guided his side to the brink of victory. Wells added a couple of bowling bonus points to their match total, but Hayes passed their target seven down with little to spare. Wells continue to hang onto fourth place in the Table, while Hayes were overtaken at the top by a single point as the two promoted XIs fight it out for an exceptional Championship, were it to come true. On 6 August, Wells travel to the Rectory Field, Blackheath, where they must put together a refreshed approach to winning ways.
Thanks to Alan Cutts for his gracious words.
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