Somerset Sabres gave a spirited display in their final NUL National League match of the season at the County Ground on Sunday to record their third successive victory when they beat Durham Dynamos by 175 runs.
After winning the toss and batting first the Sabres lost Piran Holloway in the first over and Jamie Cox followed with the score on 27 both victims of Steve Harmison who looked dangerous.
Twenty one year old Matt Wood then steadied the situation. The young Devonian shared a third wicket partnership of 53 with Mike Burns (54), he put on 84 for the fourth wicket with Keith Parsons(40) and then added 50 for the sixth wicket with Rob Turner(21).
Wood remained unbeaten on 88 when the innings closed with the Cidermen on 254 for 6.
When the Dynamos batted they were quickly in trouble and lost Ashley Thorpe with the score on 7 when he was caught by Keith Parsons off the bowling of Simon Francis.
Michael Gough and Brad Hodge then took the visitors onto 40 when Gough was trapped LBW by Matt Bulbeck.
With the score on 54 Hodge became another of Bulbeck's victims, and 4 runs later Gordon Muchal followed the Australian back to the pavilion.
The introduction of Pete Trego into the attack for the fifteenth over resulted in a two wicket maiden as the young all rounder bowled Gary Pratt with his first delivery and followed it up with another wicket later in the over when Burns snapped up a sharp chance at mid off to see the back of Ian Pattison.
From 64 for 6 there was no way back for the Dynamos who were eventually all out for 79 in the 22nd over to send a large crowd home from the County Ground with happy memories to carry through the winter.
After the match as large crowds stood on the pitch in front of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion Somerset coach Kevin Shine told me: "This was a good way to finish the season and it has sent everybody home feeling good. The way we played today is what we have talked about all season and its just a pity that it has come too late to save us."
He continued: "We have won our last three NUL games and this will give us a good starting point for next season when we can hopefully carry it on."
Mike Burns, who took over as captain from Jamie Cox who was hit on the hand when he was batting told me: "The boys played well today, we batted well and then bowled in the right places and fielded well. It's just a pity that we haven't put it together like this earlier on in the season."
Regarding this season he told me: "We have been very unlucky with injuries to players at crucial times, and then the weather has intervened in several matches. I have played consistently myself but would have liked to have scored 200 more runs."
Looking forward to 2003 he told me: "We have got some quality players and shouldn't be in the second division. We will be an unknown quantity to several of the sides and will be looking to bounce straight back up."
Pete Trego, who at one stage had figures of 3 wickets for one run but ended with 3 for 14 told me: "I really am very happy with the way things have gone for me today. It's been good to get some wickets, and it helped me coming onto bowl with a newer ball which swung a bit for me."
Chief executive Peter Anderson told me: "This has been a really good result to finish with and I hope that it sends everybody home on a happy note. We all know what it is that has to be done next season and we will do it."