WEPL Premier 1
Downend 191 beat Taunton St Andrew’s 128 by 63 runs

TAUNTON St Andrew’s skipper James Regan admitted to a mixture of relief and frustration after his side secured another season in Premier 1 despite being well beaten by Downend on Saturday.

The Saints finished one place and 15 points above the drop zone having plummeted down the league table following a fine start which saw them win each of their first three matches.

Saturday’s defeat was indicative of recent weeks, as the Saints let a strong position slip and ended up slipping to a convincing defeat.

Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl, James Hayman (4-31) removed both visiting openers early and Lloyd Alley (2-26) then picked up two scalps of his own to leave Downend 31-4.

Gloucestershire’s Ian Cockbain led a recovery, adding 94 for the fifth wicket with Callum Loud (40), and Cockbain passed his half-century before becoming the eighth man to fall with the score on 168.

Callum Gregory (26) and Phil Jackson (15) displayed lower-order resistance to take the total up to 191, which was certainly gettable for the hosts.

Tom Banton opened up alongside skipper Regan and struck five fours in a brisk 21 before chipping a return catch back to Oliver Curill with the score on 33.

Regan was playing fluently himself and reached a half-century, but his departure for 50 from 52 balls sparked a dramatic collapse.

Only Rob Contreras (20*) and Hayman (10) reached double figures down the order as the Saints slumped from 86-2 to 128 all out, though Frocester’s defeat at home to Bristol ensured St Andrew’s stayed above the dreaded dotted line.

Regan said: “It was very frustrating as we had again put ourselves in a good position.

“I thought 300 was par so we were very pleased to keep them to 191, but our batting hasn’t been good enough this season and that was the case again.

“This season has been disappointing, both personally and collectively, particularly after the start we had.

“There have only been one or two matches where we have been outplayed, but there have been plenty of matches where we have played good cricket for 40-50% of it but not backed it up in the other 50-60%.

“The bowling unit as a whole have been good. We play on a small ground and we play away at several other small grounds, and we have generally kept sides to reasonable totals.

“Unfortunately our big players, and I include myself in that, have not stepped up consistently enough with the bat.

“The highlight of the season as a club has been the performances of our youngsters - to have two teams [Under-13s and Under-15s] reaching national finals is unprecedented.

“We have also seen players move up through our teams and hopefully those youngsters can play a big part of that next year and beyond.”

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Som
Lansdown 184-2 beat Taunton Deane 181 by 8 wkts

TAUNTON Deane’s season ended in defeat as Lansdown wrapped up the Premier 2 title with victory at the Convent Field.

The hosts were put in upon losing the toss and lost opener Henry Mellor (4) and number three Calvin Harrison (8) cheaply, with skipper Rob Woodman holding the fort.

Josh Smith (3-43) then removed Harry Thomas (18) and Harry Smith (0) in successive deliveries to leave the Deane struggling on 49-4, but Woodman found a willing ally in Luke Williams and the pair took the score past 100.

Woodman was eventually trapped in front by Louis Mancini for a patient 39 and Williams was later run out two short of his half-century to leave the score 148-7.

Shohel Rana (24) helped the score to 181, at which point he was the last man out after being clean bowled by Harry Thomas.

The Deane needed early breakthroughs in order to defend their modest total, but these were not forthcoming as Jordan Smith and Ryan Thorpe set off at pace.

The pair had added 84 for the first wicket when Smith was pinned lbw by Harrison for 26, but Thorpe continued untroubled and looked set for a match-winning century.

Rob Pryke intervened to clean bowl the opener, who struck 11 fours and four sixes in his 76-ball 90 but fell with just 14 runs needed.

Dominic Hooper came in at four to finish the job alongside Brandon Allen, who ended unbeaten on 52.

The Deane can take heart from a positive season which has ended with the club third in Premier 2 - they will be confident of challenging next season.

WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset
Ilminster 282-7 beat Taunton 175 by 107 runs

TAUNTON finished bottom of WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset after slumping to a 107-run defeat in their season finale at second-placed Ilminster on Saturday.

The visitors were put to the sword by a partnership of nearly 200 between Ilminster’s numbers three and four, Charlie Vickery and Sam Spurway.

Vickery made 90 before becoming the first of two scalps for Chirag Dhindsa (2-44), while Spurway continued on to three figures before he was clean bowled by Will Easterfield (4-54).

The pair helped Ilminster to an imposing 282-7, but Taunton began their reply well through Dhindsa (21) and Charles Clist.

Clist fell for 56 just before drinks, at which point Taunton were still well placed at 140-2 with Alex Sparks (38) going well.

But loose shots and tight bowling from the home spinners brought about a collapse, as the visitors slipped to 175 all out and finished a point behind Keynsham.

Despite finishing bottom, Taunton may yet be offered a reprieve and stay at the same level for next season, as the relegated teams from Premier 1 - Frocester and Goatacre - are likely to move into the WEPL leagues in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, respectively.

Glastonbury’s pre-season withdrawal from Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset saw this season’s league played with an odd number of teams. 

The division is likely to be evened up for 2019, meaning there could be two sides - Winterbourne and North Perrott - promoted into it, Lansdown promoted out of it and no sides coming down.

These decisions remain yet to be confirmed by WEPL.

Taunton’s Jon Kerslake said: “We were well placed at drinks but folded like a deck of cards after that.

“We clearly wanted to do enough to survive off our own backs, but if we do get a reprieve it will give our young side another chance to have a crack at this level with more experience behind them.

“The spirit has been very good all year despite results not always going our way. We have a very talented side but we are just lacking a bit of experience, which has shown in things like our inability to make ugly runs in tight games.

“We were due to have an overseas player from India but that fell through due to visa issues, which didn’t help.

“We have an exciting young side and I’m sure we’ll come back stronger next year.”

WEPL Somerset
Frome 296-9 beat Minehead 144 by 152 runs

MINEHEAD ended their WEPL Somerset Division season with a disappointing away loss to second-placed Frome on Saturday.

The home side won the toss and elected to bat but lost key man Robin Lett in just the second over of the match as he was clean bowled by Harry Tudball (1-46) for 8.

New man Reece Croker was undeterred by the early loss however as he and Paul Sanger set off at a blistering rate, bringing up a 100 partnership in just 18 overs.

The pair both passed 50 before Croker was undone by the spin of Dan Bowditch, caught on the long-on boundary after striking consecutive sixes for 65.

Bowditch then trapped Sanger LBW for 51 in his next over before Jack Richards (1-56) picked up his maiden first-team wicket to leave the score at 172-4 and the innings in the balance.

Ryan Gullock picked up the baton however as he set about pushing his side to a competitive total despite Bowditch (4-44) and Andrew Woodward (1-17) continuing to take wickets at the other end.

He passed his half century with some fine timing before eventually falling LBW to Charlie Tudball (1-8) for 67, helping the hosts to a fine total of 296-9 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Minehead found themselves 7-3 inside five overs as some quality bowling from Croker (4-32) and Tom Barton (3-43) proved too good for the top order.

A brief 30 partnership from Woodward (26) and Bowditch (15) couldn’t stem the flow of wickets as both fell in quick succession to leave the score at 78-6 and no chance of victory.

Ellis Taylor (36no) and 60-year-old Stuart Tudball (12) delayed the inevitable with a useful 40 partnership but could only help their side limp to 144 all out, 152 runs short of victory.

Minehead finished fourth and will compete in the Somerset Division again next season.

They would like to thank all the volunteers, umpires, scorers and opposition teams without whom it would not be possible to play cricket on a Saturday.

STAPLEGROVE’S tough season culminated in fitting fashion as they were rolled out for 36 at Yeovil on Saturday - only opener Thomas Pantling (21) made it into double figures.

The hosts lost just one wicket - to Pantling - in reply as they knocked off the runs in 4.3 overs.

Staplegrove will play in the Somerset League Premier Division next season.