TAUNTON moved to the top of the Bristol and Somerset Division with a convincing nine-wicket win against Clevedon at Gipsy Lane last Saturday.

The visitors boasted Somerset and England star, Andrew Caddick, in their ranks, but it was Caddick's county colleague, Carl Gazzard, who stole the show later in the day, with a scintillating, unbeaten knock of 74 that secured the spoils for his side.

Taunton skipper, Lee Cooper, performed a small jig of delight when he won his first toss of the season and opted to bowl first under a perfect early summer sky. His opening attack of Chad Barrett and Matthew Bulbeck bowled with great discipline and the pressure eventually told when Marc Pykett (8) was run out by Chris Gange's from backward point.

Almost immediately, new batsman, Bachelor, was trapped in front by Bulbeck, who then completely deceived Marc Jenkins (11) with a wickedly-disguised slower delivery.

With the visitors 36-3, it was left to Mike Hanley and South African all-rounder, Kyle Abbott, to start the re-building work.

Both were particularly watchful in defence against the nagging accuracy of tall spinner Lee Hart, and the midway drinks break was reached with only 57 runs on the board.

The momentum increased after the break, and the fourth wicket pair had just gone past the 100-mark when the excellent Barrett trapped Hanley leg before for 36, and knocked back Caddick's middle stump next ball.

After being joined by skipper, Nick Moore, it wasn't long before Abbott (35) dragged a short ball from Henry Carpenter back onto his stumps.

Ryan Hagemann (27 not out) and Moore (25) batted sensibly before the latter was stumped by Gazzard off Hart in the final over, with the bowler claiming a further victim in the same over, to see Clevedon close on 165-8.

All the bowlers had done a fine job with Barrett the pick with 2-32 from his 14 overs.

With Caddick and Abbott lying in wait, the home side were well aware that the job was only half done.

Cooper ended-up taking the lions' share of the strike from Caddick, with the Somerset pace-man looking in good shape as he continued his recovery from recent back and shoulder injuries.

However, neither he nor new-ball partner, Abbott, could make the early breakthrough, as Cooper and Gazzard looked in superb touch. Their respective innings were studded with classy cuts through the cover region and wristy flicks through mid-wicket .

It was something of a surprise, therefore, when Cooper was bowled by Hagemann for 33, with the score on 81. Nevertheless, just the right platform New batsman, Gange, to gently settle himself in while Gazzard carried serenely on past his half century.

Gange then switched tempo in typical fashion, launching a delivery from young off-spinner, Will Carpenter, straight down the ground for a huge six.

Not to be outdone, when Caddick returned for a second spell, Gazzard hooked a short ball for a six of his own - with the ball bouncing off a pavilion step and wedging itself in the scoreboard for good measure.

One more sweet drive to the cover boundary from Gange (43 not out) saw the hosts reach their target with only one wicket down - a brilliant effort!

1st Financial Group man of the match went to Gazzard, who batted imperiously. He has also kept wicket impeccably and is yet to concede a bye in nearly 200 overs of league cricket this season.

Taunton travel to Brislington this Saturday in good heart but knowing that the hard work has only just begun.