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Berkshire show the hallmarks of champions - once again

By Dave Wright

Peploe takes 5-18 to leave rivals wilting

Berkshire 1st innings: 296 (Davison 63, Hussain 53, Russell 42).
Wiltshire 1st innings: 266 (Afridi 77, Clark 54; Russell 5-81, Peploe 3-62).
Berkshire 2nd innings: 163 (Hussain 44; Murray 4-47, Evans 4-51).
Wiltshire 2nd innings: 118 (Mynott 39no; Peploe 5-18, Russell 3-60).

Berkshire had to dig deep to beat Wiltshire by 75 runs at Corsham to make it two wins out of the two in the Unicorns Championship.
After being dismissed for 163 in their second innings, the hosts were left needing 194 to beat the defending MCCA champions.
Even after Wilts had lost three wickets for 44 in the final session on Monday, the game looked evenly balanced going into the final day.
But Alexander 'Mungo' Russell continued a memorable debut by taking an early wicket and from then on Berkshire never looked in any serious trouble.
Well organised, determined and confident - once again they showed the hallmarks of a great side. And there were individual match winners - new and old.
Ealing paceman Russell went to take 3-60 to finish with eight wickets for the match, but once again it was master spinner Chris Peploe who created the most problems for Wiltshire, claiming 5-18 off 19.1 overs as the hosts were dismissed for 118.
Russell was one of three players making their first appearances for the team, joining fellow University of Durham student Adam Dewes, the Finchampstead all-rounder, and Datchet's teenage seamer Jarryd Wallace, a regular Berks 2nd XI player.
Considering they were missing so many regulars - among them Richard Morris, Euan Woods and Tom Nugent - this was an excellent performance by the team.
Electing to bat first on a greenish wicket, Berkshire recovered from 139-5 in their first innings to post a respectable 296, with Waqas Hussain making 53, Stewart Davison 63 and Russell 42.
They had Wiltshire reeling at 129-5 before Neil Clark (54), Henley paceman Tahir Afridi, with a hard-hitting 77 off 67 balls and Jack Mynott (24) helped them to reach 266, a deficit of just 30 runs.
Russell captured 5-81 off 17 overs, Peploe 3-62 (19) and Andy Rishton 2-45 (10).
All Russell's victims fell to catches behind the wicket by Davison, who claimed a total of six dismissals in the innings, taking him past 100 championship catches for Berkshire in the process.
After losing Dewes to a second-ball duck, the Berkshire batsmen were not seen at their best in the second innings, struggling against Wiltshire bowlers finding some movement off the seam. Five were trapped lbw and four others edged catches to keeper Tom Morton.
Hussain top scored on 44, with Dan Lincoln next highest on 27 after a very restrained innings by the Finchampstead skipper's own standards, facing 67 balls during a 106-minute stay at the crease.
Berkshire were all out for 163 in 48 overs, a lead of 194 with Ryan Murray and Luke Evans each taking four wickets.
Many wondered if it would be sufficient - but James Morris' men always looked confident they would complete the job and mission was accomplished shortly before lunch, securing the maximum 23 points.
It wasn't a good match for Morris in the way of runs - just six in all - but he took four catches in Wiltshire's second innings and captained the side in his usual intelligently way even though he shared some of his player's frustrations over a number of contentious decisions made by the umpires.
Davison's match tally of eight dismissals is his highest for the county, beating the seven (five catches, two stumpings) he achieved against Oxfordshire in 2012.
Berkshire, now unbeaten in Western Division matches since August 2014, will be next in action on July 22-24 when they face Shropshire at Finchampstead.

Updated 13:00 - 2 Jan 2019 by Dave Wright

Where next?

Berkshire lose top spot - but then regain it! Shropshire deducted two penalty points


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Sun 2 Sep
League 186 – 148/1

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