WEPL Premier 2 Bristol/Somerset

Taunton 182-9 beat Shapwick & Polden 169 by 13 runs

A MAN of the match performance from James Clark helped Taunton record their first win of the season on Saturday.

Having opted to bat first on a low, slow track, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals with Will Abell looking the most comfortable as he hit six fours and a six in a breezy 44.

His departure left Taunton on 132-7 on a wicket where 180 felt like par, but Clark entered the fray to make an invaluable 33 at better than a run a ball to push the visitors up to 182-9 from their 50 overs.

Clark then opened the bowling and claimed the early wicket of Kiwi overseas James Venketrao (7), but useful knocks from skipper Sam Edmunds and Steve Tinnion put Shapwick in the driving seat.

The hosts were 139-3 when Clark's spin was re-introduced into the attack and he removed John Stratton and Will Mason with consecutive deliveries as the tide began to turn.

Tinnion was the third Shapwick wicket to fall with the score on 139, bowled by Chirag Dhindsa (2-42 from 10) as Taunton's three-pronged spin attack took control.

Soon it was 141-8, Clark finishing with 4-21 from 10, but determined batting from Sean Stringer and Josh Luckins brought Shapwick to within 13 runs of victory.

It took the intervention of the third of the spinners, Max Toohey (2-26 from nine), to remove Stringer before William Easterfield clean bowled Luckins as both final wickets fell with the score on 169.

Taunton skipper Hugh Kelly said: "It's great to get a win on the board.

"It was a typical Shapwick wicket were 180 was a good score. Fortunately, our spinners were on top form.

"All three were class and James Clark effectively won us the game on his own with those runs at the end and the two wickets in an over which completely changed the momentum.

"Will Abell also batted very nicely and made batting on a tough pitch look a lot easier than it was.

"We can take confidence into this Saturday's game against Weston-super-Mare and we will have some selection dilemmas, which is a nice place to be."

Somerset seamer Ollie Sale is in contention to feature on Saturday, while Archie Dunning is also available.