WEPL Premier 1
Bedminster 116-6 beat Taunton St Andrew’s 113 by 4 wkts

TAUNTON St Andrew’s captain James Regan admitted his side are looking over their shoulders in Premier 1 as their slide continued with defeat at Bedminster.

The Saints batting was again below par as they slipped to 34-6 batting first, with only opener Rob Contreras displaying much in the way of resistance as Mark Alleyne (3-22) caused problems with the ball.

Contreras’ departure for 26 left the hosts reeling on 52-7 and only a late fightback from James Hayman (33) and Justin Burke (21) ensured the Saints made it into three figures.

Gloucestershire spinner Tom Smith returned to mop up the tail, finishing with 4-14 from 10 overs as St Andrew’s were bowled out for 113.

The hosts took regular wickets in reply, Luke Poole finishing with 3-32 as Bedminster slipped to 94-6.

Joe Millard (13no) and Smith (11no) saw them home in the 28th over, however, to leave Saints sitting only 26 points above the bottom two despite winning four of their first five matches.

Regan said: “Our performance summed up the way we’ve played of late - we were just lacking that spark. 

“I think perhaps we over-achieved at the start of the season. Winning is a habit and we still had the momentum from promotion but, unfortunately, losing becomes a habit, too, as we are finding now.

“We now have two choices - we either continue like this and slip down the table or step up and get back to where we are good enough to be.

“Luke [Poole] should gain some confidence from his spell, he bowled nicely.

“You never quite know what you are going to get from him - he bowls some unplayable balls and some terrible balls - but, if he doesn’t know what’s coming, then neither does the batsman!”

It gets no easier for the Saints this weekend, as they travel to league leaders Clevedon.

The future looks bright for the Saints, meanwhile, as their Under-13s and Under-15s have both become county champions recently and the latter are in the last 16 of the ECB National Cup for their age group.

Regan said: “Myself and a few of the first team were watching them on Sunday and they played really well.

“There are many talented players. James Rew would probably be playing for our first team this season if he was just a bit bigger physically and he has a massive future in the game - I’m excited to see how far he goes.”

WEPL Premier Two Bristol/Somerset
Taunton Deane 301-8 beat Weston-super-Mare 215 by 86 runs

TAUNTON Deane secured a third successive league win at Weston on Saturday as Robert Woodman’s side emerged with the spoils after an 86-run win.

Having lost the toss, the visitors were perhaps a little surprised to be put in to bat on a used wicket.

However, the decision to bowl first seemed well founded as the Deane slipped to 21-2 early on.

Against a new ball pairing of Charl Willoughby (2-45) and Peter Trego (1-29), warhorse Ali Warren (3) was the first to fall to Willoughby.

Number three Calvin Harrison fell without scoring and Woodman and Harry Thomas set about steadying the ship.

Woodman was out for 24 and Sam Underdown and Thomas rebuilt the innings with a number of boundaries.

However, the introduction of off-spinner Jodie Filer (1-44), making her league debut for Weston, delivered the breakthrough they wanted. 

Having dispatched her first ball in league cricket to the boundary first ball, Thomas (37) was undone by her second as he misjudged her flight and guile to see the ball rearrange his stumps.

Henry Mellor joined Underdown and he bludgeoned his way to 37 of just 32 balls before becoming Trego’s victim. 

At 141-5 from just over halfway, The Deane looked like they might fall well short of a competitive total.

However, Sam Shaikh joined Underdown and they proceeded to add another 31 in 5 overs before Underdown fell for an excellent 39.

From 172-6 in the 34th, Harry Smith and Shaikh then wrested control of the game as the pair added 77 in the next 10 overs to secure maximum batting points and take the momentum of the game into Deane’s favour.

Smith eventually fell for 42 from 32 and Shohel Rana then walked out to bat, to allow Shaikh to take the initiative.

The partnership yielded 48 runs for the ninth wicket in the next six overs as the Deane passed 300 for the first time this season to finish on 301-8 and Shaikh 77 not out.

Tom Walsh (2-35) and Matt Derham (0-26) started lively with the new ball but both were guilty of spraying a few early wides as Weston moved nicely at the end of the powerplay to 68-2 at the end of 10 overs.

Walsh claimed the wicket of Jack Press, and Rob Turner (25) was then accounted for.

Ben Gully and Trego added 29 for the third wicket before Gully was out for 24.

Jon Lambert helped to add 23 runs before he was clean bowled by Rana, but Trego passed 50 and looked increasingly comfortable.

At 156-6 Trego showed no sign of relenting and a series of firmly struck sweep shots, cover drives and lofts towards the midwicket boundary signalled his clear intentions from then on in.

However, a cut off the back foot along the barren, straw-coloured outfield was duly intercepted.

Smith returned the ball from the deep cover boundary with interest to see Trego run out for 72. 

From 186-7, Weston slipped to 215 all out.

The win sends the Deane third in the table, three points behind Ilminster ahead of the visit of strugglers Keynsham, while Weston drop down to fourth, three points behind the Deane ahead of their game at Midsomer Norton.

Special mention must go to Jodie Filer, who certainly held her own against strong opposition on her league debut and was well rewarded with her first league wicket. 

It was encouraging to see her and other youngsters ready to take to the challenge of league cricket. 

Convincing evidence, perhaps, of the growing and positive influence of girls, women’s and youth cricket upon the senior game.

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset
Midsomer Norton 184-3 beat Taunton 180-8 by 7 wkts

TAUNTON’s tangle with relegation got worse on Saturday when they lost at home to fellow strugglers Midsomer Norton.

Electing to bat first, Simon Manley stood firm as, first Charles Clist then Alex Sparks left early.

Dan Quick looked in good form, hitting three boundaries, but he was out for 16 at 59-4.

After Manley left for 33, Hugh Kelly (33) and James Clark (30) added 47 for the the sixth wicket before they were both out, Kelly through a run out.

Archie Dunning added an unbeaten 20 but, when the overs ran out, Taunton had reached 180-8.

Martin Cox (3-24 off 10) and Andrew Cox (3-23 off 10) frustrated the Taunton batting line-up and kept the total in reasonable bounds.

It always seemed at least 70 runs short of a competitive total and so it proved as Taunton tried eight bowlers during a frustrating early evening.

James Flatt claimed the wicket of opener Alex Lear for 34, then, at 72, Flatt accounted for Nick Cox.

This left Hashan Gunathilaka at the crease and he took his time edging to the winning line with a series of classy strokes.

Dan Nolan joined him to see out the day and pass Taunton’s total with 11 overs and seven wickets in hand.

Will Abell, with 1-35 off 9, was the pick of the home bowlers but Midsomer coasted to victory.

Taunton’s hopes of escaping relegation seem to be increasingly remote but a victory at leaders Lansdown on Saturday could provide just the tonic for a comeback.

WEPL Somerset Division
Minehead 139-5 beat Staplegrove 136 by 5 wkts

MINEHEAD recaptured their winning form in the Somerset Division with a comfortable five-wicket victory at home to basement side Staplegrove on Saturday.

In a change of ploy, Minehead won the toss and elected to field for just the second time this season, with the choice paying off immediately as Ellis Taylor (2-26) removed both openers in the early exchanges.

Number three Henry Graydon offered some resistance with a mini counter-attack, but wickets continued to fall around him.

Darren Sherring was the man to remove him for 27 as he helped himself to remarkable figures of 3-13 from his 10 overs to leave the visitors struggling at 90-6.

The spin of Andrew Woodward proved too good for the Grove lower order, as he picked up three wickets of his own for just 21 runs.

Ryan Cleverly produced a brief cameo but was last man out, caught off the bowling of Dan Bowditch (1-9) for 29, as his team were all out for 136 in 43 overs.

In reply, openers Ian Buchanan and Alastair Harrison wasted little time in reducing the deficit as both found the boundary with relative ease, before the former was spectacularly caught at cover by Jack Lewis for 25.

Harrison continued with his no nonsense approach, punishing anything loose as Cleverly completed a fine spell with figures of 2-31, claiming the wickets of Bowditch (17) and Angus Marsh (3) in the process.

Woodward joined Harrison as they inched ever closer to the total before Harrison skied a Thomas Pantling (1-26) slower ball to be caught for 48, with his side just three short of victory.

Sean Mosquera fell to a first-ball duck but Freddie Wilson (4no) suffered no such demise as he swept the winning runs behind square leg to hand his side victory by five wickets, with Woodward a commendable 30 not out at the other end.

Minehead remain third in the table, just eight points behind leaders North Perrott, whom they travel to this Saturday in pursuit of top spot.