West of England Premier League
Somerset Division
North Petherton 160-8 beat Minehead 159 by 2 wkts

MINEHEAD suffered a disappointing two-wicket defeat at the hands of mid-table North Petherton on Saturday, dropping back to fourth in the process.

Visitors Minehead won the toss and chose to bat on a good wicket, with openers Ian Buchanan (21) and Freddie Wilson (26) getting their side off to a steady start against the twin left-arm opening pair of Lewis Knight (2-52) and Liam Winter (2-37).

It was the latter who provided the breakthrough, clean bowling Buchanan before Knight accounted for Wilson and captain Dan Bowditch (9) in consecutive overs, to leave the visitors wobbling at 67-3.

A much-needed period of consolidation followed, with Angus Marsh and Alastair Harrison looking to rebuild.

They had built a healthy 43-run partnership when Harrison (20) was adjudged lbw to Ryan Meppem (3-19).

Braden Taylor (12) looked to support Marsh (30) but they could only add 18 to the score before both falling within a couple of balls, as the away side once again were left staring at a below-par score.

Steve Hayes (14) and Andrew Woodward (9) tried to little avail to boost the score, as the innings closed on 159 in 42.2 overs.

In reply, Ellis Taylor removed opposing skipper Paul Short for a golden duck, but his opening partner Lewis Irish fared much better, eating into the total in aggressive fashion.

Taylor (3-54) manufactured his downfall, but Irish’s brisk 41 (with nine 4s) had put his side in the driving seat.

Yet overseas player Meppem was caught at short cover off Steve Hayes (2-47) for just three, and when Harry Bowditch also fell for 21, the game was finely balanced again with the score at 68-4.

A vital partnership followed between Winter and Tom Williams, as the Minehead bowlers struggled to find the breakthrough they craved, Williams looking particularly assured in defence and attack.

They had taken the score past the 100-run mark before Hayes found the edge of Winter’s bat as he was caught at slip for 26, but Williams (36no) remained undeterred, despite losing three more partners.

He struck the winning runs in just the 35th over, to give his side a much-needed 18 points from the game.

The visitors picked up just six and now sit fourth in the table, albeit just five points behind leaders Chard.

Minehead host Staplegrove this Saturday (12.30pm start), hoping to keep the pressure on the leading pack.


WEPL Somerset Division
Chard 128-0 beat Staplegrove 124 by 10 wkts

WEPL Somerset basement side Staplegrove lost again on Saturday, going down by 10 wickets away to title contenders Chard.

The visitors chose to bat first, but lost Thomas Pantling to the very first ball, trapped lbw by Scott Wells-Burr (1-28 off 10 overs).

That 0-1 soon became 11-3, as Akhona Mbanga (5-25 off 10) claimed his first two victims.

Grove sank to 30-3 and then 74-7, with Chris Scott (1-20 off eight) and Richard Scott (1-28 off six) chipping in against a listing Grove team.

There were solid contributions from the redoubtable Ian Bishop (32) and Joe Greenwood (30no) for the visitors, but once Bishop fell to a rampant Mbanga, their chance of a meaningful total was all but gone.

Having just about staggered past the 100-run mark, Grove were all out for 124 in 36.3 overs, as Joe Draper (1-1 off 0.3) finished them off.

The run chase was made to look a mere formality by the home side’s opening pairing of Paul Rideout (42no) and Harvey Dening (69no).

Dening’s total came off just 58 balls, and included 10 4s and three 6s.

The powerful strokeplay of Dening, allied with a classy innings from Rideout, saw the finish line crossed in just 17.2 overs, as none of the visiting attack could find a breakthrough.