WEPL Premier 1
Taunton St Andrew’s 297-8 beat Downend 180 by 117 runs

TAUNTON St Andrew’s returned to winning ways with an impressive triumph at second-placed Downend.

The Saints batted first and lost Rob Contreras (4) early, only for Somerset pair Tom Banton (46) and Eddie Byrom (54) to rebuild.

A flurry of wickets in the middle overs looked like restricting the visitors, but Lloyd Alley’s fine 58 held the innings together and enabled James Hayman to provide the late fireworks.

Hayman struck eight fours and five sixes in his unbeaten 79 from 62 balls to lift Saints to 297-8.

In reply, Alley (1-32) and Joe Wadham (2-37) helped reduce the hosts to 33-3 and, once dangerman Sam Harper fell to Justin Burke for 63, the Saints were in control.

Jack Cooper then took over, taking 5-40 in 7.3 overs to seal victory for the visitors.

Saints skipper James Regan said: “We played fantastically well and showed guts and determination.

“The guys at the top laid the foundations, Lloyd Alley held it all together and James Hayman played the match-winning knock - it’s the best I’ve seen him bat.

“Lloyd [Alley] was back to his best with the ball, hitting the pitch hard, and Jack [Cooper] bowled stump to stump with a disciplined line and length.”

The Saints sit fifth at the halfway stage and head to Bath on Saturday looking for a double over the reigning champions.

“I don’t think it [a double] is something we’ve ever done against Bath before,” Regan said.

“It’s a fixture you always look out for because it’s such a beautiful place to play.”

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Som
Taunton 240-6 beat Ilminster 236 by 4 wkts

TAUNTON claimed a much-needed victory as they defeated Ilminster with two balls to spare in a thriller at the Vale on Saturday.

On an emotional day for the club following the death of Tom Langford, the hosts paid tribute in fitting fashion with a high-scoring win.

Ilminster won the toss and chose to make first use of the good batting wicket on a hot afternoon, though Ben Phillips picked up the crucial scalp of opener Louis Kraucamp (13) before he had the chance to get into his stride.

Phillips removed four of the top five in all as he finished with 4-21 from 10 overs, while Archie Dunning (1-31) clean bowled visiting skipper Sam Spurway as the visitors slipped to 95-5.

Matt Davis and Jon Hurford put together an excellent 103-run stand for the sixth wicket to take Ilminster towards a competitive total, and it took William Easterfield (1-48) to make the breakthrough as he had Hurford caught by Ollie Sale for 55.

Simon Manley then took charge with the ball, wrapping up the tail on his way to figures of 4-28 from 5.5 overs as Ilminster were bowled out for 236, with Davis left high and dry on 71 not out.

There was no rest for Manley, who had to strap on his pads and get the Taunton run chase underway alongside Charles Clist.

The pair had added 61 for the first wicket when Manley fell for 21, and the quickfire departures of Clist (44) and Dan Quick (5) left Taunton on 115-3.

Alex Sparks compiled a neat half-century before departing for 51 and Will Abell contributed 34 to keep the scoreboard moving, but there was still plenty of work to do when Ben Phillips and James Clark came together at 182-6.

The pair paced their efforts superbly, however, each ending unbeaten with 28 to their name as the hosts got over the line in the final over to give their Premier 2 survival hopes a shot in the arm.

Ilminster’s wickets were shared between Kraucamp, Sam Grinter and Richard Elswood.

Taunton remain bottom of the table at the halfway stage, but just seven points separate the four sides above them in what has been a tight league so far.

Taunton are nine points behind both Taunton Deane and Keynsham, and they host the latter on Saturday.

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Som
Lansdown 270-8 beat Taunton Deane 225 by 45 runs

A SPARKLING century from Lansdown number 3 Brandon Allan consigned Taunton Deane to fourth consecutive league defeat on Saturday.

The visitors started well having elected to bowl first in near perfect batting conditions, Rob Pryke (1-33) making the early breakthrough.

Allan joined Jordan Smith and the pair immediately looked settled, putting away anything loose to see the ball fly to the boundary on the dry outfield. 

The pair moved the Lansdown scored on to 62 before Jordan Smith (20) was bowled by Liam Redrup (1-42).

Allan’s half century arrived at a shade under a run a ball and home skipper Jordan Price immediately took a liking to the off-spin of Harry Thomas, hitting an imperious six down the ground as Lansdown moved past 150 in the 32nd over. 

Price departed for 30 to leave Lansdown 156-4, as a thick outside edge stuck in the hands of wicketkeeper Sam Shaikh from the leg-spin of Luke Williams (1-46). 

Jackson Hamilton joined Allan and helped him reach his century soon after before he was finally bowled by the returning Tom Walsh (2-21).

The wicket of Hamilton (9) soon after ignited that hope before a seventh wicket partnership of 58 between Dominic Hooper and Simon Cole wrestled the initiative back as Lansdown finished on 270-8, with two late wickets for Rob Woodman.

In reply, Alastair Warren squirted the ball into the hands of backward point as he departed for a duck and Harry Smith was clean bowled to leave the Deane 21-2. 

Vice-captain Harry Thomas joined skipper Woodman at the crease and took the Deane into the 90s at drinks.

The break in play seemed to work for Lansdown, as not long after play resumed Thomas played on, driving loosely for a well-made 40.

Woodman reached his half century just before the second drinks break, by which time the Deane had moved on to 170 and needed just over 100 to win in 16 overs.

However, the drinks break provided the breakthrough for Lansdown again, as Woodman was caught behind for 65 and the Deane subsided from 178-3 to 187-6.

Luke Williams and Sam Shaikh took the Deane past 200 but, when Shaikh fell for 21, the Deane last wicket pair still required 48 from the last seven overs. 

It wasn’t to be, as number 11 Walsh became Thomas’s fourth victim and Lansdown won by 45 runs.

The defeat leaves the Deane flirting with the foot of the Premier 2 table ahead of the trip to fellow strugglers Bishopston on Saturday.

WEPL Somerset Division
Frome 235-6 beat Minehead 234 by 4 wkts

MINEHEAD will head into the second half of the WEPL Somerset Division season in third place after a disappointing home defeat at the hands of new leaders Frome on Saturday.

Batting first, Minehead opener Freddie Wilson provided some early excitement with a flurry of boundaries but lost partners at regular intervals before falling for 46 for the second week running.

The introduction of spin slowed the run rate as well as doing for several of the Minehead middle order as visiting skipper Mark Sanger took 4-48 from his 10 overs to leave Minehead struggling at 125-6. 

A counter-attacking 48 from Andrew Woodward gave his team momentum as he was well supported by Matt Sully (16) and then Ellis Taylor (26) as they helped the home side to an under par 234 all out in 49 overs.

In reply, both Frome openers took the attack to the Minehead bowlers with some fine strike making. 

Spin once again played its part as Ian Buchanan removed Paul Sanger for 29 with the score on 52. 

League top scorer Robin Lett remained undeterred, however, as he, along with new man Reece Croker, chipped away at the total with relative ease. 

Lett passed his half-century before an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration saw him lose his off stump to pace bowler Darren Sherring for a well-made 61.

Croker, however, suffered no such downfall as he guided his side expertly towards the total, passing his own half-century in the process.

Steve Hayes (3-41) returned to claim three middle order wickets but couldn’t halt the progress of Croker as he hit the winning runs in the 48th over, finishing on a fine 83 not out that included seven fours and three sixes.

The league table couldn’t be closer at the top with just three points separating the top three and all to play for.

Minehead face another important game this Saturday as they host second-placed Chard.

At the other end of the WEPL Somerset table, Staplegrove lost to fellow strugglers Yeovil by 77 runs.

Joe Greenwood took 3-46 for Grove as Yeovil finished on 239-7, Dan Ewens top scoring on 71.

The hosts never truly threatened to chase it down as regular wickets interrupted their rhythm.

Shaun Lee struck eight fours in his 55 but he was last man out as Staplegrove were dismissed for 162 in the 40th over.

On Saturday, Staplegrove host North Petherton.

This weekend's fixtures clash with England's World Cup quarter-final against Sweden - the league have offered the following advice: