Dan Wheeler was left scratching his head after Bishop’s Waltham slipped to a one-wicket defeat to Old Tauntonians & Romsey in Hampshire League division one at Albany Road.
It proved a frustrating afternoon for the hosts, who were thwarted by a brilliant last-wicket stand.
When the injured Joe Welch joined unbeaten centurion Paul Longland at the wicket, OTs still needed 116 to win the game.
It looked odds on the hosts would gain the win they needed to guarantee their division one status for next season.
Instead, Wheeler was forced to watch as the visitors took the attack to the home side and blasted their way to victory.
‘The guy who came in at the end had injured himself bowling and could hardly walk,’ he said.
‘Usually he bats at number four, so he knew what he was doing.
‘He just stood in his crease and smashed the ball everywhere.
‘Time after time he found the gaps and cleared the ropes.
‘It was disappointing not to win from the position we had got ourselves into.
‘We had to just accept we were on the wrong end of something special.’
Earlier Bishop’s Waltham’s batsmen had done well after being put into bat by the youthful visitors.
Andy Wakely (71), Adam Wymbs (47), Ross Bullard (51) and Sunny Bhimsaria (68 not out) had guided the Albany Road outfit to 307 for six.
‘All day long I thought that would be enough,’ said Wheeler.
‘Maybe we were a little complacent in the field because we thought we already had the game won.
‘At least we picked up 11 points which improved our league position.’
OTs were always up with the rate but kept losing wickets – with Bhimsaria (four for 56) doing the damage.
Wheeler remained confident all the way through but hadn’t reckoned on the visitor’s blitz at the death.
Despite the defeat, Bishop’s Waltham should do enough to stay in the top tier in the final two weeks of the season.
Nineteen points from the last two games will get the job done – probably much less.
And Wheeler is convinced his team can learn from this season. The skipper said: ‘We have only been totally outplayed twice, so I feel we deserve to be in this league.
‘A number of defeats have been by the narrowest of margins and we have beaten one or two of the top teams.
‘If a couple of results had gone the other way we could easily be sitting in the top half of the table.
‘Now we must learn from this and be better prepared next summer.’