WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Taunton Deane 161-3 beat Bishopston 157 by 7 wkts

A FINE half-century from captain Robert Woodman and three wickets from Jamie Stephens saw Taunton Deane move one point clear at the top of the WEPL Premier 2 table following a seven-wicket win away at Bishopston.

Captain Woodman was unbeaten on 69 as The Deane chased their target of 157 with more than 18 overs to spare after spinner Stephens had earlier claimed 3-14 from his 10 overs.

The Deane chase started well as fellow opener Sam Loud contributed a steady 21 before he was enticed down the wicket by Cyrus Shafi (1-45) to be stumped by Bishopston keeper Frank Connelly.

Calvin Harrison added 21 in a fourth-wicket partnership of 59 after Tennessee Harlow (9) chipped David Williams to Jamie Tapper at midwicket.

Harrison himself fell for 21 as he looked to flick Jacob Duffy (1-38) through midwicket only to find the hands of Daaryoush Ahmed.

However, by then the damage had been done, as Harry Smith ensured there were no further dramas for the Deane as he helped Woodman knock off the further 26 runs with just 31.1 overs on the board.

Earlier, Bishopston had been restricted to 157 all out from their 50 overs, Calvin Harrison running out number 10 Lawrence Cook off the last ball as the Deane secured maximum bowling points.

Daaryoush Ahmed (9) was the first to fall as Sam Loud held on to a looping, one-handed catch at cover off Matt Derham, before Matthew Wood became Derham’s second victim, lbw for 10.

Youngster Cyrus Shafi looked increasingly comfortable for his 29 but when Tennessee Harlow induced an inside edge that clattered into the stumps and Jamie Stephens removed Jamie Tapper (11) to a sharp, low catch, well held by Harrison at short mid-wicket, the home side were left grateful to Mark Coombes (40) to provide some substance to their scorecard.

The leg-spin of Calvin Harrison entered the attack and, in combination with Harlow and Stephens, the Deane turned the screw on the home side.

David O’Brien (1) fell next as Stephens held on to a sharp catch at slip as the batsman looked to force a rising delivery from Harrison towards point.

However, it was Stephens (3-14) who was the main protagonist as he followed up the dismissal of Tapper to have Jacob Duffy (9) caught by Woodman on the second attempt after chasing a steeping ball from slip halfway to the third man boundary.

David Williams (4) was Stephens’ third victim as a thick edge nestled in the hands of keeper Sam Shaikh.

When Frank Connelly (6) was bowled off an inside edge from the returning Jason Squire (1-38), and then Coombes was well held by Grant Davey on the long off boundary, the Bishopston innings was all but over.

Harrison's run out of Cook from the final ball was symptomatic of an excellent fielding and bowling performance from Woodman’s men, barring the 31 extras as the second top score.

That trend continued as Woodman himself led from the front with a fluent 69 at better than a run-a-ball to see the Deane claim 20 points and remain the only unbeaten team in the league so far.

The Deane will be looking to continue their excellent run of form as they welcome Weston-super-Mare to the Convent Field next weekend, the visitors fresh from a eight-wicket win against Ilminster in which Peter Trego claimed five wickets.