WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset
Taunton 137-3 beat Shapwick & Polden 131 by 42 runs (DLS)

TAUNTON picked up a vital win as they saw off Shapwick & Polden in a rain-affected affair on Saturday.

Put in to bat on a green wicket with rain around, Taunton nevertheless made a strong start before the first interruption after six overs.

The match resumed with the intention of playing 43 overs a side and Charles Clist put away the bad balls effectively on his way to 39.

Aided by some wayward home bowling which yielded 35 wides, Taunton were well placed on 130-3 after 18 overs when more rain arrived.

This was a lengthier delay but both sides, and the umpires, were keen to get the game back on and conditions were eventually good enough for 22 more overs.

This allowed Taunton two more of their innings, and the visitors were cautious not to lose further wickets so as to make the Duckworth/Lewis target more challenging for their hosts.

Dan Quick (20*) and Alex Sparks (3*) successfully negotiated the final two overs as Taunton closed on 137-3, a target which was revised to 174 in 20 overs by DLS.

The visitors made a fine start with the ball as Ben Phillips (1-37), using all his experience bowling uphill into the wind, induced an edge from key man Sam Edmunds before he had scored.

Fionn Hand (5) was then run out before Shapwick’s overseas player Matthew Boswell, promoted to open the batting, was clean bowled by one which nipped back from Ollie Sale.

Sale (2-21) was building up a head of steam bowling down the hill and soon bowled James Haggett (1) to leave the hosts struggling on 47-4.

John Stratton was playing very nicely at one end, however, soon reaching his half-century at better than a run a ball.

He found a willing partner in Will Mason, and the target looked within reach as long as those two were at the wicket.

Off-spinner Chiragvir Dhindsa picked up the key wicket of Stratton, trapped lbw sweeping for 61 in Dhindsa’s first over, as he and spin twin Will Abell kept the pressure on.

Abell held on to a return catch to see the back of Mason (29) and the end came quickly after that, as Abell took 2-22 and Dhindsa 3-20 to wrap up the innings on 131 in the 19th over.

Taunton remain bottom despite the win but theirs was the only match in the division to bring a result on Saturday, ensuring they closed the gap on Bishopston to 10 points – the two sides meet at Gipsy Lane this Saturday.

Taunton’s Jon Kerslake said: “Credit to Shapwick and the umpires – everyone was keen to see the game through to a result.

“Charles [Clist] batted very well up top and the bowling unit were superb.

“Our main problem this season has been availability and consistency of selection – if we can keep a steady side together for the final three games we have a good chance of picking up some more positive results.”

WEPL Premier 1
Potterne 215-8 v Taunton St Andrew’s (rain)

THE weather denied Taunton St Andrew’s a run chase at Potterne which, if successful, could have put daylight between the Saints and the bottom two.

Just 43.3 overs of play were possible before rain intervened, at which point the hosts were on 215-8 having been put in.

James Hayman bowled well with the new ball, removing both openers cheaply on his way to 2-31 from 10 overs.

Wickets for Jack Cooper (1-35) and Lloyd Alley (1-27) then reduced the home side to 76-4, but counter-attacking knocks of 59 from Basil Akram and 35 from Edward Young shifted the momentum.

Kyle Hopper (1-39), Justin Burke (1-47) and two run-outs halted Potterne’s progress when the rain came with the game intriguingly poised.

The Saints stay one place above the drop zone and host Bristol on Saturday.

WEPL Somerset Division
Bridgwater 2s 242-7 beat Staplegrove 240-8 by 3 wkts

ALREADY-relegated Staplegrove put on a fine show before losing against a strong Bridgwater side on Saturday.

Electing to bat first, Thomas Pantling opened in style, hitting 29 of the first 31 Grove runs before Jason Quick was caught.

Pantling was joined by Henry Graydon and the two added 50 before the former fell for a fine 62 which included 12 fours and two sixes.

Graydon went for 27 but Ian Bishop took up the initiative, hitting nine 4s in a fine 52.

Shaun Lee (16) and Matt Dunn (24) pushed the score on, allowing the Grove to post a challenging 240-8 off their 50 overs.

Daniel Rossiter took 3-58 off 10, and Michael Skidmore and Tom Bellinger took two apiece.

When Bridgwater replied, the experienced Michael Skidmore was bowled by skipper Ryan Cleverly for one with just four on the board.

That brought in Jonathan Vickery, who set off at a run a ball and put on over 50 with Dan Rossiter (23).

Bridgwater’s middle order contributed useful runs, keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

After Vickery was fourth wicket down for 73, Will Moyes added a match-winning, unbeaten 67 in quickfire time, including 10 4s and three 6s as the Grove’s bowlers toiled without reward.

Bridgwater crossed the line with six overs remaining as Ian Bishop was the pick of the Grove bowlers, taking 2-33 off 10 overs.

There were also two wickets for Matt Liberman and Nathan Dimond.

On Saturday, the Grove travel to second-placed Frome.

WEPL Somerset Division
Minehead 265-7 beat Uphill Castle 108 by 157 runs

BATTING first, Minehead openers Ian Buchanan and Angus Marsh set about laying the foundations for the innings in sedate fashion before the latter was dismissed in the 14th over for 18.

Dan Godfrey (12) didn’t fare much better as George Fox (3-42) claimed his second victim but Alastair Harrison joined Buchanan and the pair set about rebuilding.

They took the score past 100 as Buchanan recorded his second half-century of the season and Harrison looked especially at ease with some fine stroke play. 

After a rain break and early tea, the pair continued to build before Buchanan mistimed a straight drive and was well caught and bowled by Marcus Bail (2-63) for 79.

Andrew Woodward joined Harrison as they looked to capitalise on the strong situation with some good timing and smart running before Harrison chalked up his 50 in quick time.

He fell just three runs later, however, but Woodward was in top gear as he, too, passed his milestone with a series of boundaries before finishing the innings with a flurry to end 61 not out and give his side a handy total of 265-7 from their reduced 45 overs.

In reply, Uphill openers Dayne Siede and Luke Bliss started watchfully against the new ball pairing of Ellis Taylor (0-23) and Steve Hayes (0-16), neither offering much of a chance as they pushed the score past 50 in the 11th over. 

A double change of bowling paid off for Minehead, however, as first skipper Dan Bowditch drew the mistake from Bliss for 14 and Darren Sherring removed Bail for just 1.

Bowditch then accounted for George Cox (7) in his next over to put his side once again in the driving seat although Siede remained undeterred as he continued to counter the threat.

It was Sherring (3-32) who did for him, though, as he produced a rising delivery that could only be guided to gully and the safe hands of Harrison as the danger man departed for 34 to leave his side struggling at 77-4.

The Castle middle and late order didn’t offer any real resistance as Bowditch picked up a further four wickets and a run out to record figures of 6-30 from 9 overs and leave the visitors all out for just 108 in 28.1 overs.

Minehead amassed 22 points from the game and remain in third place with three matches to play – 21 points behind current leaders North Perrott.

Minehead travel to bottom half outfit Yeovil this Saturday.