SOUTH Wilts U15 side emerged victorious from a terrifically tense Regional playoff final by the slender margin of 3 runs.

The long Sunday morning trip to Dumbleton, near Evesham, to play the Gloucestershire champions.

A difficult decision to bat or bowl first, with skipper Chris Chaddock being advised to bat first and make them chase with the pressure on. The decision though was taken out of his hands as Dumbleton won the toss and asked South Wilts to bat first.

With some accurate bowling and good fielding, the South Wilts batsmen struggled to gain any momentum reaching just 18-1 off six overs. Ed Wade kept the scoreboard ticking over but 31-2 at the ten overs halfway mark suggested it would be a struggle to make three figures, which would be a reasonable target.

When Wade departed for 34 in the 15th over the score was 51-5 which then slumped to 59-8. However, due to a superb ninth wicket partnership between Josh Croom (12no) and Ed Nash (10not out), South Wilts closed on 87-8 off their 20 overs (Myles Holland 3-14, Fraser Loveday 2-13).

A downcast group of players were told that they were by no means out of this game. It would be just as tough for the hosts and if we could get a couple of early wickets the pressure could tell and indeed it did. South Wilts opening bowlers Jayden Atkinson and Josh Croom struck in devastating fashion. Croom removed the highly-rated Ed Bragg and then Atkinson struck twice more as Dumbleton lurched to 12-3 after three overs.

The Holland boys settled the home nerves with a solid fourth wicket stand that looked to be taking the game away from the visitors. They resisted Atkinson (four overs 2-9) and Croom (4 overs 1-20) to take the score to 59-3 off 14 overs.

With Dan Holland in control, there looked increasingly less chance for South Wilts but with the first ball of the 15th over, Ben Higton (4 overs 1-14) forced him to chop on to his stumps for 31. South Wilts saw an opening and they barged straight through it.

Skipper Chaddock came on with 23 required off 4 overs and panic set in to the batsmen. Chaddock's (2-7) double strike left Dumbleton 68-6 with just 3 overs left.

Eddie Stagg then picked up another as only 2 runs came from the 18th over. 17 runs off two overs and after Myles Holland was dropped for a second time, it came down to 14 off the last over.

Holland and Timperley picked up two two’s and a leg bye to leave nine needed off three balls. A mishap on the boundary turned a single into a four and five were needed off 2 balls. A single to Timperley and the last ball came with Dumbleton needing three to tie and win on fewer wickets lost. Eddie Stagg (2-20) kept his nerve and bowled a perfect yorker to dismiss Holland for 25 as South Wilts won by three runs.

The team now head to Millfield School on Monday, July 31 for the Regional Finals where they will play Welsh champions Lisvane for a place in the final against Hampshire's Hook or Devon's Exmouth.

Coaches Rob Wade and Martin Ball were highly delighted with the team and said: “To come through a game like that shows immense character.

“They knew they were playing a strong side, but they're good players too.

“We showed tremendous depth to get to 87, numbers 9 and 10 being two of only three batsmen to make it to double figures and then the bowling was just awesome. We let them off with a couple of errors in the field but it was a great effort to win.”