SOUTH Wilts skipper Tom Morton wrote himself into the ECB’s Hall of Fame with a superb double-century, which set up a thumping 188-run revenge victory over Warminster in the first round of the Royal London National Club Championship.
Morton smashed a boundary laden 205 not out as South Wilts piled up a massive 330-4 to well and truly avenge the cup defeat Warminster inflicted on the Bemerton side last season.
Former South Wilts captain James Hayward heaped praise on Morton’s innings.
“It was unbelievable, really, to get 205 in a 45-over game doesn't happen too often.
“Tom batted superbly.
“Every time a bowler missed their length - even slightly - they were punished.
“There were no slogs, it was just an exhibition of clean hitting - I was just glad I wasn’t one of the Warminster bowlers,” he laughed.
Morton’s 205 was the highest individual score by an individual batsman locally, although former Middlesex cricketer Scott Newman was among two players to make double tons in last season’s national competition.
Morton and Eddie Abel set the pattern with a 130-run opening partnership, which ended when the left-hander top edged an intended shot over mid-wicket and perished for 64.
Jack Mynott, who has yet to fire since his return from a winter in Melbourne, came and went quickly, but the incoming Hayward (35) and Morton pushed the rate along at eight per over.
Morton completed his century before Hayward holed out on the boundary at 220-3.
Morton, in his first spell as captain, cut loose and started tearing the Warminster attack to bits.
His second century came up in just 41 balls, including 12 sixes, and left the field to a standing ovation.
Four wickets by Steve Warner and a three-wicket return by Jack Sheppard sent Warminster reeling at 39-7.
The home tail wagged before teenager Jack Richards took three wickets to end the Warminster response at 135 all out.
The cup victory brought relief all round in the South Wilts dressing room – confidence having been jolted by pre-season defeats by Corsham and Bournemouth.
The postponement of the final April friendly with Falkland and the opening Premier League game scheduled for Saturday against Ventnor also hindered the Lower Bemerton outfit’s preparations.
"It was an important game and win for us,” Hayward added.
“We said before the Warminster game we wanted to settle the score after losing the same fixture last year and we certainly did that in some style.”
They start their title defence at Alton on Saturday but will be without both Hayward and Morton for the round two cup tie with Parley due to the batsmen being selected for Wiltshire’s clash with Cornwall in the Unicorns Knock-out Trophy.