CHIPPENHAM returned to the top of Prem Two Glos/Wilts at the weekend, after beating previous leaders Burbage in dramatic circumstances at home.

Burbage had five wickets in hand when they required 19 more runs to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

But a dramatic collapse, aided by Charlie Slade and Graeme Van Buuren’s accurate bowling at the death, meant Lee Ward’s XI snatched 20 points from the jaws of defeat.

They have consequently returned to the top of the division, and lead Burbage by two points with Thornbury an additional nine points behind them.

Having lost their 100 per cent winning record at Biddestone the week previous, skipper Ward was understandably delighted to make a return to form on Saturday – particularly given the status of the opposition.

He said: “We were particularly gutted about losing our 100 per cent record the week before, but it was great to bounce back at home and beat a team at the top of the table.

“It was pleasing to win a close game, that highlights that team spirit we have. To achieve a successful season, it is important to win these close games.

“It grants an additional boost to our team’s confidence.

“It was very much an uphill battle for us, but Charlie (Slade) and Graeme (Van Buuren) did well to bring us back into the game.

“Trevor (Lloyd) bowled well in the middle too to keep the run rate down, it was an excellent team performance.”

Chippenham started Saturday’s tie positively as Adeesha Nanayakkara and Chris Munden paired up for an opening stand of 78.

Nanayakkara went on to hit 124 from just 137 balls – a match-winning knock considering only Graeme Van Burren (44) hit double figures after that point.

“Adeesha (Nanayakkara) delivered a well-timed and patient knock,” said Ward.

“We know he is capable of performances like that. Chris (Munden) batted well too, he’s returning from injury and we’ve asked him to open this year.

“We’re top, but it’s still early days. We’re pleased with our start and the side we have.

“But there are some tough challenges ahead. Results in the last couple of weeks have proven any team can beat anyone on their day.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, we’re taking things game by game.”

Elsewhere in Prem Two Glos/Wilts, Biddestone continued their fine run of form to claim victory at Corsham.

After setting 309 as Corsham’s target, Biddestone bowled out the hosts for 248 to claim a convincing 60-run victory.

In other results, Goatacre were beaten heavily at Frocester, while Trowbridge earned a confidence boosting seven-run away win at Stroud.